A 40-year-old elephant found itself trapped in mud in Kiboko, Kenya, unable to break free despite its best efforts.
When the Big Life Foundation, a wildlife conservation organization, discovered the struggling elephant, they suspected it had become stuck while trying to bathe in the mud, which elephants often do for skin protection and insect repellent, according to Rob Brandford, executive director of the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (DSWT).
Realizing they couldn’t rescue the elephant alone, the Big Life Foundation collaborated with the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), DSWT, and local community members.
Despite their best efforts and the use of heavy vehicles, the thick mud acted like glue, preventing the elephant’s release. The animal grew increasingly dire as it could not eat, drink, or stay cool in the sun.
To help the elephant, rescuers fashioned a makeshift water pipe from tubing to provide it with some water.
They eventually pulled the animal out using two large trucks, but the elephant slipped back into the mud overnight.
After three days of unsuccessful attempts, the team’s concern intensified, but so did their resolve.
By attaching the elephant to three Land Cruisers with heavy straps, they freed it for the second time.
After receiving intravenous fluids from DSWT and KWS, the exhausted elephant regained its strength and finally stood up.
Rangers from the Big Life Foundation later spotted the elephant miles from the rescue site, reporting it was doing well.
Brandford expressed delight and a sense of accomplishment for everyone involved in the challenging rescue, noting that the most uplifting moment was seeing the elephant back on its feet after three days.
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