Sri Lankan boat sails 16km off coast, finds swimming elephant

A Sri Lankan navy boat recently came across a large mammal while sailing in the ocean, and it was not a whale.

Instead, it was an elephant — 16km off Sri Lankan’s North-East coast, close to the town of Kokkilai. 

The poor elephant, however, appeared to be struggling to place its trunk above water level so it could breathe, reports The Guardian and World of Buzz.

The sailors quickly alerted the Department of Wildlife, which immediately dispatched a vessel to save the animal.

Several divers worked together and tied a rope around the elephant, after which the boat towed it gently back to shore. 

The rescue mission took about 12 hours, and the elephant was shaken but unharmed.

A navy spokesman said the elephant was most likely caught in a current and swept out to sea while crossing the Kokkilai Lagoon, a large stretch of water between two forested area.

He said:

“They (elephants) usually wade through shallow waters or even swim across the lake to take a shortcut. 

“It’s a miraculous escape for the elephant.

“They’re very good swimmers, and swimming about 15km from the shore is not unusual for an elephant.

“However, it burns away a lot of energy.”

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