Elephants are magnificent creatures with a massive presence. An elephant’s eye draws you in and makes you peep into their emotions and soul.
When Doctor Kieran received that morning call, he had no idea that he was about to encounter something so devastating, however, with his team’s help. They managed to turn a near-death experience into a tale of survival.
Doctor Kieran Avery from Kenya, a veterinary and conservationist, has dedicated his life to preserving and conserving these amazing endangered animals.
Dr. Avery and his trusted team are always a call away whenever an animal requires rescuing. They have a few rescue missions in the bag for elephants needing to be removed from muddy pits.
Kenya is a beautiful place that experiences long rains, and due to this, the dams fill up, making the area surrounding it muddy and slippery. The community around the dam lookout for any elephants that may have been trapped in the mud once the rain clears.
Elephants have such rigid bodies that once they slip into these muddy places, getting out is near impossible to do. Some are rescued in time, but some lose the strength to fight and give into death.
After the rain, most villagers walk around looking for animals in danger or caught in the mud. The villagers noticed that a female elephant had been stuck in the muddy pit near the dam.
The elephant had been stuck for almost two days and was lying in the mud motionless. They do not have the expertise as Dr. Avery and his team, so they never attempted to rescue these elephants themself. The first thing they do is contact Dr. Avery.
The female elephant had been immobile in the mud for two days; however, it could have been longer. The elephant was so drained, exhausted, and in distress.
However overwhelmed it felt, the elephant still had some fight in it and was using its trunk as a breathing tube and a protective tool to fight off attackers or other animals that may try to attack.
As gentle and caring elephants may be, they also have an aggressive nature when agitated. This elephant was stuck in the mud for a few days and felt overwhelmed. It could have quickly agitated the team trying to rescue it and killed them in minutes.
The reality of these rescue missions is that they can end either way. It can be a sad story of how a team member lost his life or how another elephant was set free.
Dr. Avery and his team made preparations for their trip to the dam and planned to rescue the female elephant and set it free.
Dr. Avery and his team were well known in Kenya for having a successful rescue operation. They prepared the tools and tractors needed for a successful rescue mission.
Freeing an elephant of this magnitude requires the tools and a deep understanding and knowledge of the elephant’s behavior.
Sometimes, the elephant does not want to touch and becomes aggressive, aggravating the ground underneath it and making it sink even deeper into the mud, making the rescue mission fail before it even starts. So everything is about trust between the elephant and humans.
Dr. Avery explained the process that goes into a successful rescue. Detailing how it involves carefully positioning the straps to allow the tractor to pull her out quickly.
The important part is ensuring that the elephant does not grab any of the team members with her trunk, which will result in severe injuries if she does.
They were adding on what is needed to get everything right. Dr. Avery said that ideally, the straps should be placed around the elephant’s bum, just below her tail. While the tractor applies careful tension, the rest of the team observes the elephant and the position of the straps.
If everything looks good and secure, the tractor keeps pulling the elephant until it is entirely out of the mud.
Dr. Avery says he got a call from the community first thing in the morning about the distressed female elephant and got his team prepared. Dr. Avery says ‘the team knew that they needed a few tolls, including straps and a tractor to pull the rescue.
It took the group an hour and a half to free the distressed elephant. The mission was off to a successful start, thanks to the planning that goes into knowing what they need to do.
Elephants share the same sentiments humans believe in. they have a strong sense of family value and look after each other.
They travel in a herd and make sure that their young are looked after, taught about life, and ready to take on adulthood when the time comes. The rescue mission usually goes well, but sometimes the team does not emerge victoriously.
The female elephant was eventually out of the muddy pit and free. The team gave the elephant some water to ensure she was rehydrated from being stuck. As soon she gained some strength, she took off. All the elephant was thinking about was catching up to her herd.
She was grateful for being rescued; however, all that was on her mind was seeing her herd again, reuniting with her family, and making up for the lost time.
Elephants are known for their extraordinary memory. They never forget. A saying says, ‘the worst enemy you can have is an elephant because they do not hold grudges, but they will never forget what you did.’ elephants remember intricate details such as where a family member has been buried.
They even visit the burial place in memory of the deceased from time to time. They Showcase how wise and personal they feel and see life.
Dr. Avery says that for him, ‘there is nothing better than seeing free, roaming wild elephants across the landscape. And to be able to free one from an inevitable death trap and watch her walk away back into the wilderness, where she belongs, is a feeling that just can’t be beaten’.
Nothing can ever surpass the feeling of being a part of something as unique as saving a life, be it an animal or a human. The value of that moment is something everlasting.