An elephant mysteriously washed out to sea and had to be rescued by the Sri Lankan Navy. The massive creature was spotted struggling against the ocean waves about five miles from shore.
The Navy of Sri Lanka diligently worked for 12 hours to rescue the elephant attempting to keep its head and trunk above water in the sea, according to Metro. One of the sailors jumped from his boat and onto the back of the swimming elephant in an effort to secure ropes around its body.
Once the ropes were firmly tied into place around the elephant, the free ends were tied to the boat containing members of the Sri Lankan Navy. After hours of intense physical effort to prevent drowning, the elephant was finally towed back to the safety of the shore.
The Sri Lankan Navy rescue team believes the elephant washed so far out from shore while trying to cross a nearby lagoon. Elephants are often spotted wading or swimming in the lagoon, but this is the first known time one the enormous wild animals were swept out to sea.
The elephant appeared to be free from injury after being tugged back to solid ground. It soon headed back out into the wild and far from the sea, which almost took its life.
— Channel 2 KWGN (@channel2kwgn) July 13, 2017
The Sri Lankan elephant subspecies is both the darkest and the largest and of the Asian elephant breeds, according to the World Wildlife Fund. The elephants have patches of skin where no color is present. The depigmentation areas are typically located on the trunk, belly, ears, and face of the elephants.
Sri Lankan elephants once roamed freely and in abundance on an island near the bottom of the southern tip of India. Now, the majestic creatures are reportedly crowding into a far smaller region because deforestation has disrupted their traditional migratory routes.
— Robert Maguire (@RobertMaguire_) July 13, 2017
Typical elephant herd sizes in Sri Lanka ranges from 12 to 20 animals. The herd is led by a matriarch, or oldest female elephant. The elephant population in the country has reportedly decreased by 65 percent since the 19th century. Elephants are protected by extremely stringent laws in Sri Lanka. The death penalty can be levied against anyone convicted of killing an elephant.
— Inside Edition (@InsideEdition) July 13, 2017
Conflicts between elephants and humans have reportedly increased due to their loss of natural habitat. Both elephants and humans have been killed during the clashes. In 1997 alone, approximately 126 elephants died as a result of conflicts with humans. Current elephant mortality statistics reveal about six percent of the wild population dies on an annual basis.
Elephants enjoy dining on bananas, sugarcane, and other fruit crops which Sri Lankan farmers grow to provide an income for their families. The struggle to keep the elephants out of agricultural fields and groves in Sri Lanka remains ongoing.
[Featured Image by Willyam Bradberry/Shutterstock]