While people prefer to take baths with water, elephants prefer to bathe in mud, since it helps keep them cool, protects them from getting a sunburn, and helps prevent insect bites.
So when a herd of 11 Asian elephants in Cambodia spotted a massive crater, which was left from a U.S. bomb from the Vietnam War, filled with mud, the entire herd climbed in. Yet shortly after wading into the mud, the herd realized there was no way out and they were tragically stuck in the sticky mud.
Luckily, local farmers spotted the elephants in the crater before it was too late, and they notified the local Department of Environment. Soon after, rescuers from Elephant Livelihood Initiative Environment (ELIE) and Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) arrived and gave them food as they figured out a plan to rescue the herd.
“They were so hungry, they munched it down and it gave them some energy,” said ELIE program manager Jemma Bullock. Rescuers also sprayed hose water to cool them down and loosen the quickly thickening mud.
Meanwhile, other rescuers were digging ramps into the side of the pit so the elephants could crawl out on their own. Soon after, ten of the elephants managed to climb out, however, the smallest baby was too little to climb out and was left trapped.
With a little help from some ropes, the team was able to help pull the baby out and cheered as she ran back to her herd. “If the community had not got together with the WCS, ELIE and the Department of Environment to rescue these 11 Asian elephants, this would have been a tragedy,” said Tan Setha, WCS technical advisor to the area. “This herd consisted of three adult females and eight juveniles of various ages, including a male that had almost reached maturity. These elephants represent an important part of the breeding population in Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary, and their loss would have been a major blow for conservation.”
Watch the entire video below to see the amazing moment this herd of elephants escaped the massive mud pit.
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[Featured image: Facebook/Jemma Bullock]