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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 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.
“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.”