This is the incredible tale of a forest guard who gained fame for bringing out a young elephant after saving it from a ditch.
Flashback pic. Rescue of an elephant calf by a forest guard from TamilNadu made news. Mr. Palanichamy carried the half on his shoulders which had fallen into a ditch. The calf was later united with its mother. pic.twitter.com/VKqbD3hrc0— Dipika (Goyal) Bajpai (@dipika_bajpai) April 13, 2020
Numerous messages of encouragement have been sent to Palanichamy Sarathkumar, 28, the man who weighs 80 kg yet was able to carry the 100 kg elephant on his back.
Mr. Sarathkumar is a member of a forest team and is stationed in Mettupalayam, India, around 50 kilometers (32 miles) from the hill station of Ooty.
He said to the BBC: “After the video of me lifting the calf was shown on local TV channels and social media, many called to congratulate me.”
“Everyone in my village is now asking me the same question. How did you lift an elephant?”
“I was scared of losing my balance. But my friends stepped in and restrained the calf a bit and helped me to carry the animal.”
The rescue was made possible one day when Mr. Sarathkumar got a call while he was heading home after working a night shift.
“The caller informed me that a female elephant was blocking the road near the Vanabhadra Kaliamman temple.”
He and his companions may drive the elephant back into the woods by using firecrackers. They then started scanning the area for more elephants.
He said: “We saw this calf stuck inside a small ditch. It was tired and confused, so we moved a big boulder that was blocking its way and brought it out.”
Realizing the calf was the cause of the female’s distress, they made an effort to rejoin the pair, but the animal was too weak to move.
Mr. Sarathkumar said: “Initially, four of us carried the calf. We wanted to take it to the other side of the road to reunite it with its mother. But there was a danger of being attacked as she was still nearby.”
“So, instead of all four of us being put at risk, I decided to carry the calf by myself across the road.”
In the hope that the mother would find it, he carried the baby elephant for around 50 meters before putting it off next to the drinking well.
“We waited many hours, but she didn’t turn up. Sensing our presence might have been making her hesitant, we all withdrew.”
“Next day when I went there, the calf wasn’t there. But I could see the pugmarks of a big elephant on the forest floor. It seems they were reunited before dawn and slipped away into the forest.”
Elephants are highly evolved, extremely gregarious creatures that congregate in large herds. Officials from the forest said that the calf would have died if they had not intervened.
Palanichamy Sarathkumar joined the forest service and is a member of the Anti-Poaching Squad after he witnessed the conflict between people and elephants in Tamil Nadu,