Seven hours of fight, elephant defeats flooding river (Thrissur)
Gopika Varrier, The New Indian Express
August 3, 2022
The gushing floodwater was sweeping him away and the rolling rocks
underneath were hurting his legs. Branches of trees carried by the
floodwater crashed into his body causing wounds. Yet, he managed to
withstand the fury of the flood for more than seven hours. The adult wild
elephant, aged around 25 years, kept the forest officers on tenterhooks on
Tuesday, as it tried to cross the Chalakudy river which was in full spate
due to overnight torrential rain.
Hundreds of local residents and commuters who waited watching the drama
from the banks of the river at Pillapara near Athirappilly cheered as the
elephant finally managed to cross the river and enter the forest by around
The rogue elephant has been crossing the river during night hours, raiding
the crops and returning to the forest by daybreak. “The elephant usually
roams around the oil palm estate in the area in the night and returns to
the forest in the morning. It might have crossed the river before midnight.
The water level in the river rose around 1am on Tuesday. The elephant might
have entered the river around 5am. Passers-by found him struggling in the
floodwater around 6.30am and we informed the forest authorities,” said
Rubin Lal, a local resident.
The water level rose dangerously in the morning and the elephant struggled
to withstand the undercurrent. Yet he managed to stand firm and, after
hours of struggle, managed to climb on an islet in the middle of the river
by 11am. Meanwhile, the forest officers informed the KSEB authorities who
closed the sluice gate of Poringalkuthu dam which reduced the flood fury.
By around 12.30pm, the elephant crossed the river moving each step
cautiously. He often stumbled on rocks, but managed to keep steady and
reached the bank, ending hours of travail. He was exhausted and had bruises
all over his body, yet once he reached the bank, the elephant trumpeted and
vanished in the wild.
Chalakudy DFO (in charge) T S Mathew, Vazhachal DFO R Lakshmi and Pariyaram
range officer V S Arun monitored the elephant’s struggle and final escape.
The Vazhachal forest division will be monitoring the elephant’s health for
a few days. “As Tamil Nadu released water from Parambikulam, the water
level in the river rose dangerously and there was heavy flow. We tried to
stop people from gathering in large numbers as it would panic the elephant.
There were chances of the elephant getting swept away, but it was strong
and moved very cautiously,” said Konnakkuzhy deputy range officer K P