Jumbo Rescue!
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Jumbo Rescue!

January 19, 2021

An elephant gets entangled in fishing net in Nugu Backwaters, battles for life; Freed eight hours later

Saragur: In a jumbo rescue operation, a wild elephant, which  was found struggling to free itself after its legs got entangled in the fishing nets cast by fishermen in Nugu backwaters in H.D. Kote taluk this morning, was rescued at around 2.30 pm.

The Forest Department officials, who rushed to the spot after being informed about an elephant struggling in the backwaters by local villagers, who noticed it at 6 am today, said that they were not sure if the elephant got entangled in the nets yesterday night or this morning. 

With no clear information as to when the elephant was trapped,  the rescue team had a tough time to ascertain the time they had to rescue the animal. 

The Police and the Forest Department personnel, who rushed to the spot, took a boat near the elephant, but could not get closer to it as it panicked and splashed water making the boat unstable. As a result, the team had to return to the banks. 

When SOM spoke to a few local residents and asked them if such an incident had happened earlier, they replied in the negative and said that this incident could be because of fishing contractor casting nets in the restricted part of the backwaters. 

Forest and Police Department personnel seen discussing about strategy to rescue the elephant.

It may be recalled that fishing contracts have been issued for many years now in the backwaters with certain conditions which includes not casting nets in certain portion of the backwaters as elephants and other wild animals come there to quench their thirst and for a swim. 

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It is yet to be known whether the nets in which the elephant was caught, was cast in the restricted portion of the backwaters or not. 

Meanwhile, the Forest Department staff found old nets in the water when they went to rescue the elephant. This means that old nets are being discarded in the backwaters which is illegal as they pose a threat to wild animals. 

Meanwhile, H.D. Kote Fire and Emergency Service personnel – Ramesh, Ashok, Vinay Kumar and Dinesh — arrived and came up with the idea to use multiple hooks to drag the nets entangled to the elephant’s feet. 

After taking the boat close to the elephant when it was too tired to splash water, the fire personnel dropped the metal hooks with ropes attached to them and slowly tugged at the entangled nets until they came free from underneath the elephant’s legs. 

The elephant then mustered all its strength, swam to the shore and then walked into the forest. There was a sigh of relief and celebration among the huge crowd that had gathered at the spot to witness the rescue operation. 

Saragur Sub-Inspector Divya, Nugu Range Forest Officer (RFO) Geetha, Hediyala RFO Manjunath, farmer leader Vivek Cariappa and others were present at the spot.

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