A charging elephant broke down the door and a wall of a home in India, but immediately stopped when it heard a baby crying. It then removed the debris from the child using its trunk and peacefully returned to the forest.
Elephant pulls down house in Bengal, then rescues 10-month-old baby trapped under debris.
Hoax or Fact:
The story shared widely online claims to describe a heart-warming incident in India, where a charging Elephant that broke into a home has stopped to rescue a crying Baby from the debris, before returning to forest peacefully. Yes, the story is a fact!
The Amazing Incident
The story is reported by The Times of India (timesofindia.indiatimes.com) on 12 March 2014. The father of the 10-month-old baby, Dipak Mahato told that on 10 March 2014, he and his wife Lalita Mahato were having dinner at around 8pm, when suddenly they heard a huge crash from their bedroom. When they went to check, the couple living in Olgara village of West Bengal, India were shocked to see the wall in pieces and a lone Tusker (elephant with tusks) standing over their baby. The baby was crying on the cot among the huge chunks of the wall lying all around her. At this point, the tusker started moving away, but when the baby started crying again, it returned and removed the debris with its trunk. While the couple watched the scene in amazement, after rescuing the child, the elephant headed away into forest for safety. Last picture in Image Gallery shows the elephant beside the mother and the baby.
The incident is more surprising because the same elephant has damaged at least 17 houses in Kasidih, Mathadi and Ghoshra village areas, and has even killed at least three people last year, according to forest officers. The girl child was taken to Deben Mahato Sadar Hospital, where she was treated for some external injuries caused by the debris falling on her. "We worship Lord Ganesh (the elephant god) in our village. Still, I can't believe that the tusker saved my daughter after breaking down the door and smashing a wall. We watched amazed as it gently removed the debris that had fallen on her. It's a miracle," said mother Lalita Mahato recollecting the incident.
In Jalpaiguri's Madarihat of West Bengal, a similar incident was reported before few months, when an elephant herd rescued a small girl carefully, before smashing many houses. It would be interesting to know that elephants do respond to a herd-mate’s sounds of suffering - with caresses and soothing chirps and rumbles.
History shows many such examples where animals have shown compassion towards humans. A female Gorilla once rescued a three year old boy who fell into Zoo enclosure. But unfortunately, in present case, change in land-use pattern has blocked the elephants' traditional migration routes through the villages and has led to man-elephant conflict since past few years.