Navy rescues an elephant at sea
July 13, 2017 3:16 PM   Subscribe

The elephant was found 10 miles off the coast of Sri Lanka, struggling to keep its trunk above water after being carried away by the strong current.

The Sri Lankan navy picked up the elephant, safely secured it with ropes and pulled the elephant ashore with the help of two other boats, as well as Sri Lankan wildlife officials.

The elephant was likely swept into the sea while trying to cross the Kokkilai Lagoon, which divides two areas of jungle. (Navy Media)
posted by Lanark (18 comments total) 26 users marked this as a favorite
posted by Fizz at 3:25 PM on July 13 [1 favorite]

That is one heck of a technical problem. How do you rescue an elephant from the sea? It seems like it would be very easy to injure it by wrapping a rope around it. I'm imagining giant pool noodles and big soft zodiacs. I hope it was OK.
posted by Bee'sWing at 3:29 PM on July 13 [2 favorites]

There are times when I just adore my fellow man. This is one of those times.
posted by No Robots at 3:49 PM on July 13 [15 favorites]

I like to think that Lord Ganesha was watching out for one of his brothers or sisters and had the navy at the right place at the right time to help this animal who was in need. Bless.
posted by Fizz at 3:51 PM on July 13 [13 favorites]

dat snorkel doe
posted by Atom Eyes at 4:00 PM on July 13 [9 favorites]

Poor guy was certainly waterlogged.
It's a good thing he packed his trunk along!
posted by BlueHorse at 4:16 PM on July 13 [2 favorites]

That is one heck of a technical problem. How do you rescue an elephant from the sea?

They could grip it by the tusk.
posted by Greg_Ace at 4:27 PM on July 13 [7 favorites]

posted by saladin at 4:45 PM on July 13 [33 favorites]

"Swimming about 15km from the shore is not unusual for an elephant," Avinash Krishnan, a research officer with conservation group A Rocha, told the Guardian. But as elephants burn through a lot of energy swimming, it was plausible that the stranded elephant needed intervention.

Wait, elephants swim 10 miles out? Not unusual?
posted by AugustWest at 4:57 PM on July 13 [4 favorites]

How do you rescue an elephant from the sea?

A net and a crane, I expect.
posted by Xyanthilous P. Harrierstick at 5:10 PM on July 13 [1 favorite]

It's pretty rare for Sri Lankan elephants to have tusks.

I was surprised to see they didn't try inflating a bladder under the elephant's belly, or yeah, hoist it up a little bit out of the water with a crane. But they did alright with what they apparently had with them. The poor guy seemed so exhausted - I found myself holding my breath whenever his trunk was underwater.
posted by janell at 5:26 PM on July 13

This room I'm in is very dusty all of a sudden.

Are there photos of the poor elephant on land? Poor thing must have been so terrified.
posted by longdaysjourney at 5:40 PM on July 13 [2 favorites]

It's pretty rare for Sri Lankan elephants to have tusks.

(For the record, I wasn't making a serious suggestion, even if they did have tusks; it was a Monty Python reference.)
posted by Greg_Ace at 5:45 PM on July 13 [3 favorites]

The skeletons of cetaceans show that our common ancestors emerged from the sea several hundred million years ago, but cetaceans for their own reason decided to return maybe fifty million years back. Maybe this elephant was trying to evolve before pesky bipeds showed up and hauled him back.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 5:51 PM on July 13 [3 favorites]

Come to find that a) elephants are much better swimmers than humans--they can keep afloat in the water without much effort, and b) the whole purpose of the elephant's trunk is to act as a snorkel for swimming.
posted by mantecol at 1:02 AM on July 14 [1 favorite]

It's like trying to pull a 2-ton car out of the water, except the car has 4 movable limbs and is thrashing about. i don't think a crane or any kind of platform would have been reasonable because setting up that kind of contraption likely would involve going under the elephant. not while it's kicking!

i guess towing it was the best solution here, given the conditions and the 'time sensitivity'
posted by bitteroldman at 6:50 AM on July 14

I saw a slightly better video on BBC World News last night. They did not get back to shore until after dark. It took hours and hours because they had to go so slow.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 8:20 PM on July 14

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