Officials save elephant in flooded

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Thrissur (Kerala) Aug 13 : District Officials on Monday saved a wild elephant from being swept away by temporarily lowering the floodgates of the Peringalkuthu dam.

Dam officials, forest rangers and tribals came together to help the animal, caught on a rock near the dam shutters on the Chalakudy river that has been overflowing near the Vazhichal forest range.

Tribals living near the famed tourist destination at Athirapally were the first to spot the trapped elephant. They informed Forest Ranger Mohammed Rafi, who in turn got in touch with the dam officials around 10 a.m.

"We were asked to reduce the water flow from the dam to enable the baby elephant to get back to the forest," said a Pernigelkuthu dam official attached to the Kerala State Electricity Board.

The shutters of the dam were lowered to 21 feet from 39 feet, said a dam official.

The elephant was struggling to get out to safety about a kilometre from the floodgates, said the officials, adding it takes about half-an-hour for the dam water to reach that spot.

On lowering the shutters, the water level came down. Then the forest officials burst firecrackers to prod the animal to move away.

The elephant then got off the rock as the water around it had subsided and walked away into the forest.

"It was a perfect team work, else the elephant would have drowned," said an eyewitness to the rescue.