Mammoth effort to save floodstranded elephant
HUGE crowds of villagers following a wild elephant stranded in Bangladesh for more than a month by floods are hampering efforts to rescue it, forest officials said.
Severe floods in the northeastern Indian state of Assam separated the 4-tonne female elephant from its herd as strong currents in the Brahmaputra river washed it across the border to northern Bangladesh in late June.
Last week, Indian wildlife officials travelled to Bangladesh to join local forest rangers and vets to rescue the animal, which is now struggling to stand on its feet after a journey of more than 100 kilometres.
“It’s now standing in a 5-foot flood water in Jamalpur district. It is extremely weak.
“There are more than 10,000 people watching her from a close distance,” Bangladeshi vet Sayed Hossain said on August 6.
Mr Hossain said the crowd was hampering its efforts to reach higher ground as “thousands of villagers have been constantly following the animal”, even at night.
Forest official Tapan Kumar Dey said a team had brought a dart gun, crane and lorry to carry the animal once it reaches dry ground and can be tranquillised – but the operation cannot be carried out while the elephant is in water. –
Bangladesh wildlife officials look on from a boat as they observe a wild elephant in a watercourse at Sarishabari in Jamalpur District.