KUNMING, March 14 (Xinhua) -- An exhausted wild elephant was rescued on Monday after it got stuck in a muddy pond in Mengman Township, southwest China's Yunnan Province, according to the local border police.
The police at the border police station of Mengman Township, Xishuangbanna Dai Autonomous Prefecture, received a report on Monday morning that a herd of wild Asian elephants was spotted playing in a forest, but one of them had fallen into a muddy pond.
A short video showed another elephant stretching out its hind leg in an attempt to reach the one stuck in the pond, as well as lying on the ground and removing mud from the pond with its trunk. However, these efforts were unsuccessful and the trapped elephant was unable to climb the steep, slippery bank.
The police immediately reported the situation to the local government, forestry and grassland bureau, as well as the forest police brigade, and evacuated nearby residents prior to conducting rescue efforts.
Equipment such as drones and excavators was dispatched to the site.
Rescuers said that, at noon, the elephant on the bank was still attempting to remove mud from the pond, but to little effect.
Rescuers used an excavator to dig out a passage, and the trapped elephant finally managed to climb out.
The border police said that the trapped adult elephant weighs around 2.5 tonnes. It has returned to the nature reserve safe and sound, rejoining the herd.
Wild Asian elephants, a flagship species in the rainforest, are under A-level state protection in China. Thanks to stronger environmental and wildlife protection efforts, the population in the country has grown to about 300, mostly scattered around Yunnan. ■