A baby elephant was dramatically rescued from a manhole in central Thailand this week after its mother was sedated to allow the operation to proceed, wildlife officials said.
The calf fell into the drainage trough on the outskirts of the Royal Hills golf course in Nakhon Nayok province in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
Its distressed mother, believed to belong to an elephant herd traveling through the nearby jungle, stayed with the infant, which was unable to climb out of the steep pit.
The pair were discovered by a passing resident, who quickly alerted wildlife officials and Khao Yai National Park authorities to the elephant’s plight.
Would-be rescuers were initially unable to help the baby elephant due to the presence of its worried mother, and were forced to tranquilize the older creature.
The mother elephant then tumbled partially into the hole before being pulled out — with the help of a digger.
The mother was later revived, according to the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plants Conservation. Video posted on the department’s website showed the baby elephant struggling on the bottom of the manhole before finally being pulled out in the rain.
The calf was eventually rescued from the pit and reunited with its mother, with park authorities confirming the pair had safely returned to the jungle.
Elephants falling down or getting stuck can sometimes have tragic outcomes. In 2019, 11 elephants fell to their deaths at aafter some of them tried to reach a calf.
According to Elephant Nature Park, there are an estimated 3,000-4,000 elephants in Thailand. About half of them are domesticated, and the rest live in national park reserves.