South Asia

Flood-hit Sri Lankan elephant calf found dead in tree

Dead elephant in a tree (photo: Kanchana Kumara Ariyadasa)
Officials are working out how to get the elephant down (Photo: Kanchana Kumara Ariyadasa)

An image has emerged from Sri Lanka of a dead elephant calf stuck high in a tree after getting caught up in the country's fast-flowing floods.

The animal was found near the Galoya river, which rose 18ft (5.5m) above its normal height.

Local villagers alerted photographer Kanchana Kumara Ariyadasa, who took the picture on Thursday.

He believes the photo will be a defining image of the country's recent heavy flooding.

"I have been working as a journalist for the last 10 years but this is likely to be one of the strangest photos I will ever take in my career," Mr Ariyadasa told the BBC.

"The animal is still stuck in the tree as we speak while wildlife officials work out the best way to get it down to conduct a post-mortem examination."

Thousands of animals - including elephants, snakes, water buffaloes and livestock - are thought to have perished in the floods.

More than 30,000 army, navy, police and air force personnel are currently battling to provide urgent aid to people hit by the disaster.

At least 23 people have died and more than a million have been affected by the flooding, which the government says has displaced more than 325,000 people.

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