Colombo (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Chaminda Walakuluge, spokesman for the Sri Lankan Navy, called the rescue of an elephant that was washed out to the sea a “miraculous escape”.
A boat spotted the pachyderm some eight kilometres off the northeastern coast.
During the 12-hour operation, divers aided by wildlife officials were able to tie ropes around the struggling animal barely breathing with its trunk just above water before towing it to shallow waters near the coast, where it was released late on Tuesday.
Walakuluge said that elephants like to wade into sea waters whilst crossing the Kokkilai Lagoon, a large stretch of water that lies between two areas of jungle. "They usually wade through shallow waters or even swim across to take a short cut," he said.
The rescue took place a few weeks after the navy and local residents saved a pod of 20 pilot whales who became stranded near Trincomalee, a natural harbour that is popular for whale watching.
The waters around Trincomalee, which was used by Allied forces as a staging post during World War II, have a high concentration of blue and sperm whales, whilst the surrounding jungles have herds of wild elephants.
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