An elephant calf that fell into an elephant trench near Avondale estate was rescued by the Gudalur Forest Division staff on Monday. Efforts are under way to reunite the calf with its herd.
P. Ganesan, Forest Range Officer, Gudalur, said that a herd of wild elephants had been crossing over from the Gudalur Range into the Mudumalai Tiger Reserve via Avondale Estate when the male elephant calf, believed to be around 4-5 months old, got stuck in the elephant trench and was unable to escape.
Workers found the animal inside the elephant trench early Monday morning and alerted the Forest Department. Close to 15 personnel rushed to the area and managed to extricate the animal using ropes in less than an hour. “The calf has been rescued and has not suffered any external injuries. Forest veterinarian E Vijayaraghavan is also arriving and will conduct some health checks to make sure that it is healthy,” said Mr. Ganesan.
Forest Department staff have been trying to locate the elephant herd from which the calf became detached after falling into the trench so that it can reunite with its mother. They have set up a temporary krall in the area and will leave the animal there overnight and hope that the herd will return and take the calf with them.
District Forest Officer, Gudalur Forest Division, P.K. Dileep, said that he had issued instructions to his staff to not come in contact with the animal as that could lead the herd to rejecting the calf.
“We are closely monitoring the situation and are hopeful that the herd returns tonight. The temporary krall was built to protect the elephant from the rain and is not meant to contain the animal. It is free to move about and we will also keep a vigil on the animal from a distance throughout the night,” said Mr. Dileep.
If the herd fails to return, the calf would have to be taken to the Theppakadu Elephant Camp.
The calf is very young, the chances of it surviving if taken to the elephant camp are slim, said department officials.