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Chinese rescuers use drone, stun grenades and firecrackers to free 3 wild elephants trapped in pool

A drone, stun grenades and firecrackers were used to help rescue three wild elephants after they fell into a pool in southwestern China, mainland media reports.

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The endangered Asian elephants – two adults and a baby – were found trapped in the four-metre deep pool used for farming on a mountainside in Xishuangbanna, Yunnan province, on Sunday as 17 other elephants stood watching nearby, the news portal Yunnan.com reported.

The mayor issued an order to rescue the animals, but forest police could not approach them for fear of being attacked by the other elephants, the report said.

On Tuesday morning, 14 elephants were filmed by drone cameras as they went into a nearby mountain area to search food and knocked down a police vehicle that had blocked their way back.

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More than 60 officers then immediately set off stun grenades and firecrackers to drive away the remaining three elephants that had been guarding the trapped animals.

On Tuesday afternoon, a mechanical digger was able to break the concrete side of the pool to provide an exit route for the elephants.

The elephants then returned to the forest, according to the report.

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The police had planned to send in a helicopter to throw sand bags for the animals to step on if the firecrackers had not worked, the report said.

China has about 300 Asian elephants, most of them based in Yunnan province.