Tags: elephant | washed | out | sea | rescued

Elephant Washed Out to Sea Rescued by Sailors

Image: Elephant Washed Out to Sea Rescued by Sailors
An elephant washed out to sea uses its trunk like a snorkle. (Sri Lanka Navy)

By    |   Friday, 14 Jul 2017 07:26 AM

An elephant that washed out to sea was rescued five miles out after possibly getting caught in a riptide and made "a miraculous escape" from death, according to the Sri Lankan sailors who saved it.

Sri Lanka Navy spokesman Chaminda Walakuluge said a routine patrol discovered the elephant trying to stay afloat off the island's northeast coast, reported Agence France-Presse.

Rescuers spent 12 hours tying ropes to the elephants before towing it carefully back to shallow waters.

National Geographic said a video of the rescue showed how the elephant used its trunk like a snorkel to breathe while in the water.

Walakuluge said the elephant likely was swept out to sea while crossing the Kokkilai lagoon, a large stretch of water that lies between two areas of jungle in Sri Lanka.

"They usually wade through shallow waters or even swim across to take a short cut," he told AFP.

Joyce Poole, co-founder of the conservation group Elephant Voices, told The Washington Post that elephants are excellent swimmers, probably the best of any land mammals outside trained human swimmers.

After viewing a video taken of the rescue and posted on Twitter by the BBC News, Poole said the animal looked exhausted after struggling to stay afloat for so long.

"I well remember flying in the early 1990s over barren and deserted islands off the Kenyan coast near the Somali border and seeing the bones of elephants that had been killed there," Poole told the Post. "Clearly they swam from the mainland to the island only to meet their deaths there."

Asian elephants are classified as endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, according to National Geographic. Many of the animals have been hunted for their tusk, meat and leather, noted the magazine.

Sri Lanka's elephant are protected by law but the population has tumbled nearly 65 percent, said National Geographic.

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An elephant that washed out to sea was rescued five miles out after possibly getting caught in a riptide and made "a miraculous escape" from death, according to the Sri Lankan sailors who saved it.
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2017-26-14
Friday, 14 Jul 2017 07:26 AM
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