Trunks not made for swimming: elephants rescued from Sri Lankan sea

(CNN)Elephants still can’t fly, but maybe they can swim — at least for a little bit.

On Sunday morning, a Sri Lankan naval patrol rescued two distressed elephants stranded at sea off the island’s eastern coast, according to the national navy.
Three navy vessels participated in the rescue mission along the coast of the province of Trincomale, eventually coordinating with a team of Navy Divers to help guide the elephants back to shore.
    Video of the scene shows smaller boats of helpers approaching the animals, with larger vessels monitoring the surrounding area to help keep it clear of bigger boats.
    Neither of the animals were harmed in the rescue mission, according to an official statement from the Sri Lanka navy.
    The jumbos are residents of the Foul Point jungle, close to where they were drawn into the water.
    It’s not the first time an elephant has been swept into the sea in Sri Lanka. Earlier this month, a single jumbo was swept out to sea in strong currents, before being towed back to shore by the navy in a similar rescue mission.
    Though known as a Sri Lankan cultural icon, the country’s elephants are at increased risk due to land being rapidly cleared both for human settlement and agriculture expansion. The Sri Lankan elephant population is now officially classified as endangered, having dropped 65% since the turn of the 19th century. There are an estimated 2,500 to 4,000 Sri Lankan elephants currently left in the wild, according to the World Wildlife Fund.

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