Sri Lanka is one of the world’s best-kept secrets. For some reason as a holiday destination, travelers and tourists still overlook “the teardrop of India” in favour of its larger and more well-known cousin. This relatively small island sits just off the coast of the massive sub-continent of India, shaped like a teardrop and famous for its beaches, tea and elephants. It is the latter that we will be talking about today!
Elephants are synonymous with Sri Lanka, and you practically can’t move for the things. They’re a big tourist pull, with many people enjoying a vacation to the elephant sanctuaries on the island. You must never ride an elephant – that’s not what they are for – and legitimate elephant shelters care for the animals that have been abused for tourist’s pleasure down the years. These gentle giants need love and care, and sometimes they need a little bit more than that!
When the Sri Lankan navy was out doing a routine patrol, they noticed something large in the water. Cautiously approaching, they discovered something rather unusual nearly 10 miles off the nearest coast. A fully grown Asian elephant was struggling in the water!
Now, even in a country like Sri Lanka where it seems these beautiful animals grow on trees, this isn’t a sight that you would see every day! Although elephants happen to be among the best swimmers of the land mammals, this one was in serious difficulty, having been pulled out to sea by a strong current. Although the animal is surprisingly buoyant for such a big beast – and can use their trunk as a snorkel, eventually the poor creature would have become too tired to continue and most likely perish at sea. This wasn’t going to happen on this navy’s watch!
An epic rescue then ensued as navy vessels became involved in helping the elephant get back to his own habitat, instead of trying to become a whale! Additional boats were called in, as well as a team of specialist animal carers, who jumped into the water to sooth the stricken and frightened animal while scuba divers attached a tow rope to the huge Proboscidean. Over the course of several hours, they then gently towed “Jumbo” back to dry land.
Night had fallen by the time they made shore, but this is one elephant who will be eternally grateful to his human neighbors. Don’t miss this amazing rescue in the link below!