An elephant in India hurt his leg and became stuck in swamp waters. Local villagers have been bringing the wild elephant food. They have ridden their domestic elephants into the murky water to deliver supplies. Now a team of rangers and vets have arrived to free the elephant and fix the leg.
One of the most touching aspects of this story is that the domestic elephants showed great compassion for their fallen wild friend. They intertwined trunks for extended periods of time, an act usually reserved only for friendly family members.
From ABC News:
Indian veterinarians are treating a 10-year-old wild elephant with an injured leg to help it escape from a marshy area where it has been stuck for at least five days.
The state Forest and Environment Ministry said forest rangers are bringing domesticated elephants to help rescue the trapped male elephant in Amchang Wildlife Sanctuary, 40 kilometers (25 miles) east of Gauhati, the capital of Assam state.
Sadly, more elephants are becoming trapped (and often die) in wells or dangerous waters. This is due to climate change – wild elephants are going into unchartered territory to search for water and food.
“The Protectors: Walk in the Ranger’s Shoes”, a documentary directed by Imraan Ismail and Kathryn Bigelow, debuted recently at the Tribeca Film Festival.
It is only eight minutes long, but it is a powerful film. It shows the dangers rangers face daily at Garamba National Park. It is a virtual reality film. Gear VR, HTC Vive, and Oculus Rift owners will be able to watch the film on May 1st using the Within app.
The film appropriately was shown Earth Day weekend.
Kathryn Bigelow previously released a film called “Last Days” about the elephant crisis.
warning: video shows a rhino autopsy
video: CCTV Africa
Rangers have an immensely dangerous job, not only having to worry about the unpredictability of nature but also having to guard against violent poachers who are not hesitant to kill anything in sight. For example, over 140 rangers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo were killed by poachers in the last fifteen years. Unfortunately, corrupt governments and law enforcement take bribe money and the killers often go free. In 2012, 6 rangers were killed together in Chad and the poachers truly got away with murder.
Some rangers also take bribes, seeing their job only as a way to make ends meet and not as a moral duty. However, many take their work very seriously and believe saving elephants and rhinos is defending not only the animals, but also an honorable duty to their country and culture.
According to the Game Rangers Association of Africa, shockingly 75% of rangers have reported feeling intimidated and 59% feel ill equipped to carry out their tough job.
Clearly, more support is needed for those on the front lines of conservation. They need better training, basic supplies, and a morale boost. Please consider supporting groups like the Thin Green Line Foundation, which was recently profiled in The New York Times for their amazing work.