A baby elephant trapped in a well in India enjoyed a touching reunion with its herd after a four-hour rescue mission by local forest officials last week near the village of Thattekad in Kerala.
The baby elephant fell into the well after the herd crossed the Urulanthanni River. It began crying out in distress when it repeatedly failed in its attempts to climb out, prompting local residents to summon help, according to The Hindu and Newsweek.
Forest officials began a rescue operation as the herd huddled nearby and a crowd gathered to watch. An excavator was used to carve a path for the baby to exit the well, allowing it to walk into freedom.
The herd excitedly crossed the river in a joyful celebration as it was reunited with the baby elephant:
“The herd received its young member with an unusual display of affection,” The Hindu wrote. “Adult elephants in the group could be seen touching and pampering the calf as if to comfort it.”
As the herd began to leave, the mother elephant appeared to be thanking the rescuers with a wave of its trunk in a poignant moment.
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