Did you know that elephants enjoy swimming? Despite being large, they are buoyant in the water and swim fully submerged. They use their trunks as a snorkel as they wade around. Elephants are considered the best swimmers of any land mammal- perhaps excluding trained human swimmers.
But the other day an elephant got swept out to sea in Sri Lanka after trying to wade across what was supposed to be a safe lagoon in his sanctuary. Thankfully, the navy saw him struggling during their routine patrol. The elephant appeared to be tired and lost. It took twelve hours, but the navy officials were able to successfully guide the elephant back to the shore and to safety.
While elephants can swim for fairly long periods of time, they will tire if not able to rest. Navy officials intervened, claiming the swimming would have caused the elephant to burn too much energy to survive and the prolonged exposure to salt water could have damaged the elephant’s skin. What could have been disastrous, was thankfully avoided.
Asian elephants are classified as endangered and have faced significant threats from logging and loss of habitat. Most males and females in this species lack noticeable tusks, which may decrease poaching, but they are still hunted for their meat and leather. Currently, elephants are protected under Sri Lanka law, where killing one results in steep penalties.
Be sure to check out the video of the rescue above. Let me know what you think about this story. Do you like elephants? Do you like learning about animals? I love animals as you will see throughout this blog.