ARUSHA, Tanzania, Jan. 15 (Xinhua) -- A baby elephant which lost its herd and plunged into a deep gorge in western Tanzania's district of Sumbawanga has been rescued, a senior official said on Tuesday.
James Wakibara, Director General for the Tanzania Wildlife Management Authority (TAWA) said that the baby elephant believed to have come from one of the game reserves in western part of the country was found trapped in a gorge on Sunday and was later airlifted to safety by conservationists aboard an airplane.
He said that the exercise to airlift the young elephant from Sumbawanga to the Makoa Farm's elephant orphanage, located in Kilimanjaro, was performed jointly by TAWA and the Friedkin Conservation Fund.
The official said: "It took about three hours to transport the baby elephant from Rukwa to Kilimanjaro by plane. The Jumbo was escorted by wildlife and veterinary officers."
He said that if the young elephant could have died if it had stayed longer in the precipice.
"After spotting it, our officers reported the matter and we took efforts to rescue the animal," he said.
According to Wakibara, the little elephant will stay for a while at the Makoa Farm in Kilimanjaro where wildlife and veterinary officers will be checking its progress, before being released back into the wild to join its herd.
One of the stakeholders in conservation, Joram Laizer praised the joint efforts of Friedkin Conservation Fund and the TAWA in rapid act of ensuring the jumbo's safety, especially at the time when wild animals face serious threats from poachers, diseases and being the underdog in human-wildlife conflicts.
Wildlife officials reveal here that the baby elephant was still in suckling stage and when it fell head-on into the gorge. It badly injured both its trunk and mouth area, making it difficult for the jumbo to feed. Still, it is being hoped that the baby elephant will recover in time to be sent back to join its family.
Due to drop in poaching cases, the number of elephants is on steady increase throughout the country and many of the jumbo are currently roaming freely across the landscape, with some, like this baby jumbo, accidentally falling into valleys.