Trapped elephants saved from water-filled reservoir in China

Two elephants and a baby elephant trapped in the reservoir after having fallen inside when drinking water at a farm in Yunnan province on Oct 12, 2016.
Two elephants and a baby elephant trapped in the reservoir after having fallen inside when drinking water at a farm in Yunnan province on Oct 12, 2016.PHOTO: AFP

BEIJING (Reuters) - Rescuers in China used a large excavator to break down a concrete wall and free three elephants stuck in a water-filled reservoir for more than two days, state media reported.

The two adult elephants and calf were discovered on Sunday in the 5m deep reservoir in south-western Yunnan province by forest rangers, but heavy rains filled up the pool and delayed rescue efforts at the hilltop location.

The two adult elephants helped the calf keep afloat as the water levels rose, with more than 10 other elephants roaming around the tank, CCTV footage showed.

Rescuers, who brought food for the trapped animals, used a helicopter and firecrackers to scare away the nearby elephants, before bringing in a large excavator to break the wall of the reservoir on Tuesday.

Local authorities believed the calf had fallen in to the reservoir, which is used by local villagers to irrigate plants, and the two adults, a male and a female, went in to help.

Around 300 Asian elephants are thought to inhabit China with most found in Yunnan, which borders Myanmar, Laos and Vietnam.