A heroic forest guard who hauled a baby elephant onto his back because it was too weak to walk has revealed how he managed to lift it.
Despite the creature’s cute appearance, it was heavier than guard Palanichamy Sarathkumar, weighing in at more than 100kg.
The animal had fallen into a ditch in Mettupalayam in southern India and became separated from its mother.
After retrieving it from the ditch, workers tried to encourage the calf to walk as they attempted to reunite the two elephants.
But it quickly became apparent that it was unable to walk even a short distance – so Mr Sarathkumar, 28, gave it a piggy back for about 50 metres.
He told the BBC: ‘It was very heavy. I just lifted it on the spur of the moment.
‘Everyone in my village is now asking me the same question. How did you lift an elephant?
‘I was scared of losing my balance. But my friends stepped in and restrained the calf a bit and helped me to carry the animal.’
He added that locals have been contacting him to congratulate him after the video of him carrying the elephant was seen around the world.
Mr Sarathkumar’s anti-poaching team received a call on December 12 alerting them to a female elephant, which was blocking a road and appeared distressed.
They managed to drive it back into the jungle before searching the area for other members of its family, when they found the calf stuck inside a ditch.
In the ensuing rescue operation, four people initially attempted to lift the calf together.
But as there was a danger in them being attacked, due to the adult elephant being nearby, Mr Sarathkumar opted to carry it solo.
The two animals were later reunited, with forest officials claiming the baby would have died had they not managed to save it.
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