An operation to rescue a baby elephant ended with a pleasant show of gratitude from a member of the calf's herd. The incident took place in the south Indian state of Kerala where a baby elephant fell into an abandoned well while travelling with a group of adult pachyderms.
According to forest officials, the group had made their way across the Urulanthanni River and onto the plot of land on the other side when the accident occurred. Locals residing in the area were made aware because of the stranded elephant's distressed cries.
The rest of the animals waited nearby, clearly anxious over the calf's condition.
Forest officials, led by section forest officer of Urulanthanni TT Dinesh Kumar, along with some of the villagers, procured an excavator to remove the earth around the well and make a path for the elephant to escape. After spending close to four hours attempting to climb out, the calf finally made it to freedom and joined the rest of his herd.
A video taken by one of the rescuers shows two of the adults making a fuss over their young member. Before proceeding to leave, however, one of the elephants in the herd turned back to the group of people around and raised its trunk in what looked like a salute of gratitude.
Shiju V. Chacko, the section forest officer of Thattekkad district confirmed that the herd made its way back across the river in safety.