KUNMING, Feb. 28 (Xinhua) -- Officials and villagers in southwest China's Yunnan Province used an excavator to rescue a wild elephant that accidentally fell into a septic tank on Friday.
The 5-tonne female elephant was probably eating bananas from a tree when it stepped on and crushed the lid of a septic tank near a railway construction site, according to the government of Xishuangbanna Dai Autonomous Prefecture.
The elephant was found struggling in the septic tank, with only its head emerging out of the excrement, by a villager at around 7:00 a.m.
Wang Jing, deputy head of the Dadugang Township, said after discussions with forestry police and officials, it was decided to dig a tunnel from the tank to allow the giant creature to crawl out. About 40 villagers and rangers joined the rescue efforts that lasted for one and a half hours.
The elephant has returned to the forest, Wang said.
Wild Asian elephants are under A-level state protection in China. Thanks to the improving environment, its population in the country has grown from 170 in the 1990s to about 300, mostly scattered in the province of Yunnan.