KANCHANABURI: A cow elephant and her calf that fell into a deep, old mine pit in Thong Pha Phum district on Sunday were helped back to safety on Monday morning by local villagers and national park officials who dug them an escape path.
The elephant and calf were discovered about 3pm on Sunday down the narrow, 5 metre-deep pit in Pa Khao Bo Rae forest reserve near Moo 7 village in tambon Chalae.
Marks showed the mother elephant had struggled unsuccessfully to climb out.
As it was getting dark by the time the inspection was completed Lam Khlong Ngu National Park rangers were not able to begin the rescue immediately.
Park chief Pichet Chaisawat reported the incident to the provincial administration organisation and Protected Area Regional Office 3 (Ban Pong).
On Monday morning, village volunteers and staff from Thung Yai Naresuan Wildlife Sanctuary arrived at the pit with heavy machinery to begin the rescue operation.
A backhoe was used to dig a sloping exit path for the mother and her calf to walk up out of the pit. The two elephants were finally ushered into the forest to rejoin their herd.
The pit the elephants fell down is one of about 100 such holes in the area, part of an old mine that was closed down.