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Chained elephant makes a dash for freedom, gets stuck in swamp – rescued

A 17-hour marathon rescue effort pulled out a chained elephant from a swamp where it had got trapped while trying to escape captivity.  The 45-year-old elephant, Mullackal Balakrishnan or Bala for short, had broken through barricades and jumped from a truck, which was carrying it in the Southern Indian state of Kerala.     But after fleeing for 6 kilometres, Bala ran into a waterlogged area and got stranded in a marsh.

Staff correspondent, NewsCrunch

A 17-hour marathon rescue effort pulled out a chained elephant from a swamp where it had got trapped while trying to escape captivity.

The 45-year-old elephant, Mullackal Balakrishnan or Bala for short, had broken through barricades and jumped from a truck, which was carrying it in Kerala.   

But after fleeing for 6 kilometres, Bala ran into a waterlogged area and got stranded in a marsh. 

A rescue team of 200 people managed to pull out the elephant after a prolonged operation. 

They emptied the water from the swamp, tied ropes to Bala and pulled it up.

The starving and exhausted animal, which was losing conscious, was rescued in the nick of time. A team of veterinary doctors injected glucose through the day to save its life. 

Bala, owned by Travancore Devaswom Board, was being transported to Mullakkal from Thrikkakara  temple where it had been taken to attend a local festival.

The driver of the lorry stopped to have tea at 4 am on Tuesday when  Bala used the opportunity to make a dash for its freedom. It broke through the barricade,  jumped down the truck and fled. 

Sreekumar Gopi, assistant mahout, told The Times of India that the elephant had been secured with a rope and four iron rods. “Its legs were chained. But the chain was not interconnected with legs,” he said. 

Around 5 am, pursued by its captors, the fleeing elephant ran into a marshy land and got trapped in it. 

Reports of captive elephants, which are usually illtreated,  fleeing for their freedom frequently surface from Kerala. 

In early August, a 35-year-old elephant Dhruvan fell into a well while trying to flee captivity, and met with a slow and agonising death.

Animal welfare activist Rajeev N Kurup estimates that 16 captive elephants have died in in Kerala this year alone.

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