PRACHINBURI – Park Rangers at a Thap Lan National Park park in northeastern Thailand have rescued six baby elephants that were trapped in a mud pit.
Park officials said the elephants were unable to climb up the pit’s slippery banks. Rescuers took five hours on Thursday to dig a path for them to clamber out.
A Video of the great elephant escape released by the Department of National Parks shows the animals climbing out of the muck and quickly heading into the forest, a few dozen meters away.
One elephant struggles, slips and falls, but finally all make it out of the muck.
The last of the animals then lingers, after all the others have made it past the tree line. It faces the rangers for a moment, turns, pauses and finally runs into the jungle.
“Gone, they’re gone,” cries a ranger, as the rescue crew comes together to celebrate.
The head of the park, Prawatsart Chantep, said rangers patrolling the park’s forest areas found the animals stuck in the pit on Wednesday afternoon and at nightfall, one group of rangers left to get help while another group remained with the elephants.
Prawatsart said there were signs that a herd of elephants believed to be related to the trapped infants was circling the area.
It was unclear how the elephants became trapped.
Elephants are the official national animal of Thailand, and for a time graced the country’s flag when it was still called Siam.
Development has sharply reduced their natural habitat and shrunk their numbers. They are notorious for raiding farmers’ fields for food, especially sugar cane.
Several people are killed each year by angry elephants. Last November, a driver on a road near another park in the northeast struck the hind legs of one when it wandered out of the jungle at dusk. The animal responded by stomping on the car, destroying the engine and killing the driver.
The Associated Press