Great work from our partner, Big Life Foundation. An impressive rescue by all involved. #Repost @biglifeafrica with @get_repost
UNEARTHING TIM: The Battle to Rescue an Amboseli Icon
Mondays don’t start much worse than this: a big bull elephant stuck in the mud deep in the Kimana swamp. Our hearts sank. An aerial view confirmed the worst: Tim, one of Africa’s largest and most magnificent elephants, clearly in serious trouble.
Big Life rangers responded immediately, but the outlook wasn’t good. Tim was up to his neck in mud and immobilized, with no chance of escaping on his own. Nor was there a way for a vehicle to get close to him. Failure—Tim’s death—was a real possibility.
Everyone got to work. How do you pull a 6-ton object out of a suction pit, when that object is alive, thrashing, and has no idea the people around him are trying to help? Tim was understandably aggressive, stressed, and tiring fast.
Luckily, support was on the way from all over Kenya. A @KenyaWildlifeService tractor had been steadily chugging in from Amboseli since the alert was sounded, and our experienced friends at @DSWT were also wrapping their heads around how to pull Tim out. The answer was going to be a 300m long tow strap, flown in from Nairobi.
The tractor ultimately had to approach from the far side, where the land was drier/firmer. Two Big Life Land Cruisers and the tractor pulled, the tow strap went tight, and then… the strap snapped.
After more pulling, and more strap breakages/repairs, the tractor and vehicles finally managed to pull Tim onto firmer footing. But he was too worn out from the ordeal to even stand.
The vehicles kept pulling slowly, knowing that his life depended on it. Finally, in the last light of the day, Tim stood. As the crowd cheered, he shrugged the tow straps off before slowly heading back toward @KimanaSanctuary. The rangers stayed with him until he was safely back on protected land.
Rangers are keeping an eye on Tim, and he appears to be fine.
A huge thanks, as always, to KWS and DSWT, and to our supporters around the world. Without you, stories like these might not have such a happy ending.