Chhattisgarh: Elephant herd blocks highway until foresters rescue calf from ditch | Raipur News


RAIPUR: It was a ‘chakka jam’ straight out of a Kipling tale. After an elephant calf fell into a deep ditch next to a highway in Chhattisgarh’s Korba district, the entire herd blocked the road for nearly three hours on Thursday evening — until it came to the notice of the administration and a forest department team was sent to rescue the little giant.
Excavators were used to level out the ditch and a brave beat guard descended to tie a rope to the calf so that it could be pulled out. The herd — including the mother — stood calmly by during the rescue. Then, they happily sauntered off, the calf toddling between their legs.
The herd of 21 had entered Katghora forest range in the evening and was crossing NH130 when a baby elephant fell into a ditch, half-filled with water, in Madai region, about 60km from Korba district HQ. The herd immediately surrounded the calf — some formed a protective circle while others tried to pull it out.
Traffic ground to a halt. Motorists stopped to watch the fascinating scene — none dared drive close to the agitated elephants anyway. The herd kept trying to pull the calf out of the ditch but it was too deep and slippery. After several failed attempts, the herd spread out on the highway, just like a protective detail, to shield the calf. The mother elephant refused to budge and kept trying, looking here and there as if calling for help.
Some motorists and villagers informed the forest department and police. Around 6pm, rescue teams arrived.
Initially, they approached with trepidation, unsure if the herd would charge at them. There have been several human fatalities in elephant attacks this year, including in Korba less than a month ago. The mother stood close to the calf, refusing to budge.
Range officers Manish Singh and Abhishek Dubey led the operation that needed heavy hands but a delicate touch. Motorists were told to switch off their engines.
Katghora DFO Premlata Yadav also arrived. “Two excavators and a team of 25 personnel worked on the sensitive job of rescuing the calf while ensuring everyone’s safety. There were so many elephants. The sun had set and it was getting dark. The mother stood there looking at us. Initially, it seemed insecure upon seeing the big machines and hearing all the noise. But after some time it realized that we were there to help and stepped aside. It stood in a corner and let us do our work,” the DFO told TOI.
As the trench was deep and muddy, the excavators began digging out a path for the calf to climb out. When they could dig no further without harming the baby jumbo, they realized it was still too steep.
Someone had to descend into the ditch and tie a rope around the elephant calf so that it could be pulled out. “That was the most challenging moment. Who will rope the elephant?” Yadav said.
Mangal Nayak, a forest beat guard, volunteered. Everyone held their breath — perhaps the elephants too — as Mangal talked softly to the calf while he swung a rope around its body. The herd followed the humans’ every move.
Mangal began pushing the calf as others pulled. An elephant calf weighs over 100kg and if it had fallen on the rescuer, he’d have been history. Inch by inch, the little jumbo was pulled out of the ditch.
Once on firm ground it scampered towards the mother. “Everyone cheered,” DFO Yadav said.
This is the second time in five years that she helped reunite a calf with its herd, said Yadav. Also, only two days ago, a month-old calf was rescued and reunited with the herd in Jashpur district.





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