In a welcome change to the usual narrative of man’s destructive impact on wildlife, villagers and officials collaborated to safely return to the forest a baby elephant stuck among water hyacinths clogging Deepor Beel in Assam’s Kamrup district.
The baby, onlookers said, had been separated from its herd. A series of photographs tracked its odyssey, over railway tracks and through the waters, and eventually a triumphant sprint across a road to safety in the forest.
An estimated 30,000 or so wild elephants are left in India, a decline so severe that Indian elephants have been on endangered lists for over 30 years.
Thousands of captive elephants live chained, hungry and in ill health. Still, on May 10, as these pictures show, there was reason to celebrate man’s kinship with these glorious giants.