'Miraculous': Elephant Rescued 10 Miles From Shore
Animal likely got caught in current, says Sri Lanka's Navy
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 13, 2017 8:18 AM CDT

(Newser) – An elephant washed out to sea has made "a miraculous escape" with help from Sri Lanka's Navy. The elephant, believed to have been caught in a current while crossing a stretch of water separating two areas of jungle near the town of Kokkilai, was spotted trying to keep its trunk above the waves some 10 miles off the northeast coast of Sri Lanka on Tuesday. The Navy and Department of Wildlife officials then jumped into action. Over 12 hours, rescuers tied the elephant with ropes and slowly pulled it to shallow waters, reports the Guardian.

A rep for a conservation group says elephants are "very good swimmers" who are known to travel between local islands; they may have even first reached Sri Lanka after swimming from southern India. But while it's not unusual to see elephants paddling 10 miles off shore, "they can't keep swimming for long because they burn a lot of energy," the rep says, adding, "in this case, the situation probably warranted human intervention." A video of the rescue shows the elephant barely staying afloat before it was pulled ashore and put in the care of wildlife officials, per the Sunday Times.

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