A 20-year-old wild elephant and its six-month-old calf fell into a pit and was rescued by Forest officials after a nine-hour operation on Wednesday.
The incident occurred at Palavanpady in Kuttampuzha Forest Range, near Kothamangalam. According to Forest officials, the elephants were suspected to have been trapped for the past two days in the pit, which was used by the Forest Department in the 1960s for catching elephants. DFO B N Nagaraj said that the pit was not very deep, but the animals got trapped in the slush. “The pit was about 10 feet deep, but it had about five feet of slushy mud,” said Nagaraj.
The elephant was rescued after pushing leaves and mud into the pit. A sloppy path was made for the elephant. The Forest officials also made fires on one side of the pit so that the elephant would not attack the people after being rescued. The elephant was later let free in the forest.
The Forest officials said that local people going into the jungle first spotted the elephant. Based on the information, the Forest officials, led by B N Nagaraj, began the rescue operations.
The elephant pits were originally made by the government to catch wild elephants for domestication in the Malayattoor Forest Division.
According to the local people, there are several such pits yet to be levelled.
“Hundreds of pits were used for trapping elephants, which are a threat to the lives of the elephants in the region. Unfortunately, even the forest officials do not know pits still exist,” the local people alleged.