Asia

Elephant rescued after flood odyssey

A tranquillised elephant lies on the ground after being pulled from a pond in the Jamalpur district, Bangladesh. Image copyright AFP
Image caption Villagers came to rescue the elephant as it fell after being tranquillised

An elephant that became separated from its herd in floods in north-east India several weeks ago has finally been rescued in neighbouring Bangladesh.

It was washed away in the strong currents of the Brahmaputra river.

Some experts suggest it may have travelled hundreds of miles before it even reached Bangladesh.

The rescue was not without drama - once tranquillised, the elephant fell into a pond where villagers saved it from drowning and then helped pull it out.

"Hundreds of villagers came to its rescue when they saw the elephant had lost consciousness," local vet Sayed Hossain told AFP news agency.

"Dozens jumped into the pond and helped us tie the animal with ropes and chains. And finally, with the help of hundreds of villagers, we were able to pull it to dry ground."

The wild female, thought to weigh some four tonnes, had become progressively weaker after spending weeks in flood waters in Jamalpur district, near the Indian border.

'Exhausted'

Reports said it was struggling to move to higher grounds due to insistent rains.

Bangladeshi forest officials have been on the trail of the exhausted animal and were joined earlier this month by colleagues from India. But their trip to rescue the elephants was not successful.

Officials said that once the animal had built up strength, it would be taken to a safari park near the capital Dhaka. But it would have to walk some of the way as there was no paved road nearby.

Floods force thousand of animals to move to higher ground every year in the border areas between the two countries.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The elephant's woes began in Assam in late June

The shrinking natural habitat of wildlife animals has made it increasingly difficult for them to move to safer areas during monsoon floods.

Image caption Floods force thousand of animals to move to higher grounds every year in the border areas between the two countries

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