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            This is a very interesting incident in which we were a part of the Corbett team in nearly saving the elephant calf that was stuck in quicksand. It started with a typical morning when we went for a elephant ride. The night before we were awake and could hear the trumpets of elephants. Nothing unusual about the trumpets as they keep on making noises in the night to scare aware any predators that may come near the the calves. As per our jungle instincts we guided the mahout to take us to the the probable area of the calls we had heard the night before, just a hunch that the tiger may have attacked the elephant or possibly the tiger may be in that area. 

When we reached the area we saw a female elephant knee deep in the quicksand and when we approached it , she blew a trumpet and charged at us , driving us away. Something was wrong the female elephant when alone does not usually charge, but she wouldn't let us come near her. We circled her and ultimately gave it up and returned back to the base.


            That  evening we again went to the same spot, but did not see the female elephant. However we heard a langur monkey making strange noises which our learned mahout Nissar identified as the call of seeing the leopard. Now we were excited and started circling the spot, and luckily came across the leopard. Seeing us the leopard soon disappeared in the dense forest and  kept trying to come back. We were sure that there must be a kill nearby. We circled the area several times and then came upon the elephant calf which looked dead to us stuck in the quicksand.  On closer examination we saw that the knee area of the rear leg had been ruptured and then the story was clear to us. The calf must have been stuck in the quicksand and the mother tried to free it.

The mother elephant had tried all efforts, kicking lifting pushing, she had tried so hard that the baby calf became injured. The calf had been stuck since the day before when we had heard the elephant trumpets.


            Feeling our presence the calf tried to lift himself up, but due to weakness and dehydration could not do so. The first reaction of the mahout was to let things be as the law of the jungle prevailed. We advised and took a stand that look here the mother has abandoned the calf and if saved the calf could be used for the jungle activities and the forest was already short on tame elephants. 

The officials saw our view point and while few remained with the calf to scare away the leopard if it came, the rest went to the nearby base that was Khinanauli from where the rest of the staff was summoned and the required materials like rope, shovels etc. were arranged and a team of around ten people were sent to the site. A very good coordination that in such a short span of time the officials were called. 

The elephant calf now scarred seeing human presence made frantic and repeated efforts to get up and out of fear got the strength back to blow few trumpets too. 


            Hearing the trumpets, we heard a reply sort of cooing from deep inside jungles, must be at least at a distance of over 2-3 kms or so, must be the mother elephant. We expedited the rescue and all the people got involved in taking out the calf. The young one just so small already was very heavy for us. We tried various permutations and combinations and after tying the rope in its stomach we were able to finally  pull it out of the quicksand. In the meantime the mothers rushing through the woods sound was coming nearer and nearer. Our praise for our mahout who was  in total control of his elephant named Pawan Pari who incidentally has the reputation of having run away with the wild elephants and also has a baby by the name of Albeli who is presently in Bijrani.  

Nissar mahout managed to keep the mother a bit distracted and away till we finally took the calf out from the quicksand.


            Once the calf was out , we could see that he was not only injured in the legs but also the neck and other portions of his body. He drank lots of water and was trying to stand up but could not do so. In the meanwhile controlling the mother was very very difficult and she was in a very agitated mood and ready to crush us. Seeing that the elephant was out of quicksand and with the mother, we were thanked by the mother elephant by chasing us away and blowing large trumpets. We were proud of our achievements and got many good wishes from other  staff members when we reached Dhikala. The director was also informed of this. The next day we were leaving for Delhi and saw the Director going in the direction of the calf which we had rescued.

Jungle has its own laws and balance of nature. The Director found the calf killed by the tiger named Jeetu and for days to come the tiger was found eating and protecting its kill. The mother had stayed with the calf till early hours of the morning but while grazing and walking towards her herd she had left the calf a bit behind and seeing the opportunity the tiger had made its kill.

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