Last month, at the beginning of flooding season, an elephant from Northern India was separated from her herd. As the waters rose, it became harder and harder for her to return. Eventually, she ended up far away—past the Brahmaputra river, over the border, and in the neighboring country of Bangladesh, where she has been eking out a swampy, difficult existence, far from the hills she’s used to.
Now, after weeks of worrying over the elephant, an international team of twenty veterinarians, forest officials, and technical support staff is gearing up to bring her home, reports Indian Express.
The elephant has become a popular new neighbor—many people have been following her around in boats, tailing her as she moves from one district to another.
At this point, she “looks tired and weak,” said one forest official, Ashok Mollik. “It is finding limited items of food, like rice plants and sugarcane plants… yet it remained non-violent.”
The team has tough work ahead of them. “There is no way we can tranquilize it in water, as it might be floated downstream,” another forestry official, Shahab Uddin, told Agence France-Presse. Instead, they have to lure her up to higher ground, where they can care for her, tranquilize her, and figure out how to move her by truck.
If they can’t, they’ll try to acclimate her to her new home, said Bangladesh’s forest chief: “India will take it back if possible, otherwise we will keep the elephant.”
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