“Urgent Minute! Mission to help a baby elephant trapped in a pipe, elephant mother anxiously waits by the pond

An incident occurred where a baby elephant fell into a drainage channel in a resort located adjacent to Khao Yai National Park in Sarika sub-district, Mueang district, Nakhon Nayok. While Dr. Boon, a veterinarian from the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation, and her team were planning to rescue the elephant, the mother elephant refused to leave her baby’s side.

On August 13, 2022, Dr. Channaya, a female veterinarian from Khao Yai National Park, and her team arrived at the scene and found the one-year-old elephant stuck in a 2-meter deep, 2-meter wide, and 3-meter long drain. The mother elephant was guarding her baby, making it impossible to approach the baby elephant. Moreover, the weather was rainy throughout the operation.

Then Dr. Boon’s team, along with Mr. Bodin Chanthasri Kham or Uncle Mu, the founder of the Wild-Patrol Association and the team of forest rangers from Khao Yai National Park, developed a three-part rescue plan: a tranquilizer team, a lookout team, and a team to observe the animal’s behavior. The team implemented the plan, and Dr. Boon shot the mother elephant with three tranquilizer darts.

The mother elephant became drowsy, stood by the edge of the drain, and before collapsing into the drain, her head hit the edge, and her front legs went into the drain. Her hind legs remained on the other side of the drain, and her baby elephant remained under her belly, suckling milk. The team then pulled the mother elephant out of the drain and treated her injuries.

After the elephant had received the tranquilizer, she stood still while the rescue team used a water truck to block her from going anywhere and to prevent any danger to the personnel trying to assist the calf. It was essential for everyone to work together to ensure overall safety.

If anyone noticed the elephant or the calf exhibiting behavior that could harm the rescue team, they should immediately notify the team. Then, the team would cancel and retreat because the safety of the personnel was the top priority.

After they rescued the mother elephant from the well, she lost consciousness. Dr. Bowe tried to save her life, while the rescue team hurried to perform CPR on the elephant. Meanwhile, the calf cried loudly and tried to climb out of the well to reach her unconscious mother. The team managed to rescue the calf from the well before he could reach his mother. They also had someone ready to perform heart pumping and to help the calf suckle from his mother.

After a short while, the mother elephant regained consciousness and stood up. It was suspected that her maternal instincts were triggered when her calf suckled, allowing her to regain consciousness. She stood for a moment, looking at Dr. Bowe, before walking back into the forest to rejoin her herd, with the calf following her. The team was pleased to have helped them both safely.


Mr. Bodin Jantarasri, also known as Uncle Pig Salika, the founder of the Wild Boar and Forest Animal Lover Club and the volunteer team helping wildlife in Khao Yai, said that this type of event could happen unexpectedly during work. At that time, it was raining, causing the soil around the well to be wet and unstable.

Combined with the mother elephant’s weight, the soil gave way and collapsed. The mother elephant and her calf fell into the well, leading to their rescue mission.