Thailand’s most-famous living elephant nearly went to the big pachyderm park in the sky after a veterinarian’s injection prompted a stagger and fall into a muddy pool at the Pattaya Floating Market.
Somrak, whose handler claims is a record-shattering 115 years old, was rescued by staff and residents near the market’s elephant camp Sept. 21. People threw water on the beast to keep him cool while others propped tires under his head to keep the fallen elephant above water.
Local residents help the dazed and confused pachyderm back onto his feet, with help from a crane.
Market workers deployed a construction crane being used nearby to help Somrak get to his feet. After righting himself, the giant animal took a few steady steps and, supported with Barbados pride trees, limped to dryer ground where he seemed to recover, although he remained weak.
Confirmed records show the oldest-ever elephant died at age 82 while anecdotal reports claimed elephants in Taiwan and Sri Lanka lived to 86 and 90, respectively. However, Somrak’s mahout, Thongun Supmaak, purports that Thailand’s oldest elephant is a whopping 115, although his assertion has not been verified.
What is known is the accident occurred after a vet gave Somrak a “stimulant” that was deemed routine. Shortly after, however, the elephant that has been featured in numerous movies and television shows and sired even more famed pachyderms fell into the bog where only the fast work of 10 rescuers saved him.