The Sri Lankan Navy mounted a massive rescue effort after spotting the
elephant struggling eight kilometers into the deep sea in north eastern part of
the island on July 11. It managed to
rescue the elephant that got into difficulties after being washed out into the
sea. The Navy described it as a "miraculous escape".
Sri Lankan Navy spokesman Chaminda Walakuluge said the navy mounted a dawn
to dusk rescue operations after spotting the elephant struggling to stay afloat
around eight kilometres (five miles) off the island's northeast coast near
Divers aided by wildlife officials approached the distressed animal and
tied ropes to it before towing it gently to shallow waters near the coast,
where it was released.
Walakuluge said the animal had likely got swept into the sea while crossing
the Kokkilai lagoon, a large stretch of water that lies between two areas of
jungle. "The elephants usually wade through shallow waters or even swim
across to take a short cut," he said. "It is a miraculous escape for
The rescue came six weeks after the
navy and local residents saved a pod of 20 pilot whales that became stranded in
nearby Trincomalee, a natural harbour that is popular for whale watching.
waters around Trincomalee, which was used by Allied forces as a staging post
during World War II, have a high concentration of blue and sperm whales, while
the surrounding jungles have herds of wild elephants.