Wild elephant saves himself from drowning after being washed away by raging river

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This is the heart-stopping moment an elephant saved himself from drowning after being washed away by a raging river.

The male jumbo was feeding near the banks when it slipped during a heavy downpour into the muddy water in Phang Nga province, Thailand on September 23.

It was spotted by concerned locals who attempted to save the animal from the riverbanks, but the currents were too violent and flowed fast.

Fortunately, the elephant was able to calmly move into the shallow part of the river when he had the chance and clung there before being pulled up by the residents.

Local Nam Kheng said: ‘We did not know what to do at first so we just followed the river while the elephant was being swept away.

‘We did not even have ropes that time. We were relieved that he did not drown and reached a safe corner in the river.’

Onlookers helped the weary jumbo climb up the riverbanks and gave it space to rest as it could have been aggressive after the incident.

Local park rangers who were also notified of the incident checked on the jumbo, which was generally healthy and returned to the forest afterwards.

Male Asian elephants roam alone and only join herds to mate. In contrast, African male elephants remain part of the herds for their whole life.

Elephants are the national animal of Thailand. An estimated 2,000 elephants are living in the wild and a similar number in captivity.

In the wild, they roam through the deep jungle and in the country’s protected national parks but often encounter humans on roads and in villages. However, they are protected by laws and killing them carries a maximum prison term of up to three years and a fine of 1,000 baht (25GBP).

Thailand and other countries in Southeast Asia such as Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines are in the middle of their tropical monsoon rainy season, which lasts until October or November. Soaring temperatures reaching 35 degrees Celsius are often followed by powerful tropical storms with thunder, lightning, rain and flash floods which cause rivers to flow faster and become dangerous.

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