Assam forest dept rescues elephant herd stuck overnight in pond

GUWAHATI, Dec 2: A herd of five wild elephants were trapped in a muddy pond in the Lakhipur area of western Assam’s Goalpara district for about 10 hours since Wednesday midnight till forest personnel used two excavators to dig one side of the pond and rescue the gentle giants on Thursday morning.

Official sources said the herd, also comprising a calf, had come to the area in search of food, only to get trapped in the pond.

A section of residents had gathered at the site in the morning as the elephants struggled to get out of the deep, muddy pond.

“We came here after receiving information about the stranded herd and thereafter used two (JCB) excavators to dig one of the edges of the pond to create a path for the elephants to gradually climb and get out of the pond. The elephants were observed to be in stable health. The herd subsequently made its way into a forest area,” an Assam forest official told mediapersons.

The official further said that a group of people had gathered at the site, which delayed rescue operations for some time.

“The herd is suspected to have come down to Assam from the hills bordering Meghalaya,” he said.

A resident said that human-elephant conflict, in Goalpara particularly, has been a major concern with incidents of wild elephants, damaging houses and crops during the night hours, commonly occurring from time to time.

“The herds generally enter human habitation in search of food,” he said.

It may be mentioned that on Tuesday night, two wild elephants lost their lives after colliding against the engine of the New Delhi-Dibrugarh Rajdhani Express near Jagiroad railway station.

NF Railway sources said that the section where the incident occurred was not a forest declared elephant corridor.

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