Elephant’s JCB Rescue ‘High-Five’ Highlights Our Complicated Relationship With Animals

by : Julia Banim on : 20 May 2021 14:02
Elephant's JCB Rescue 'High-Five' Highlights Our Complicated Relationship With AnimalsShatish Shah/Twitter

Footage from India has highlighted the complicated relationship between animals and human beings, showing how there is more to ‘adorable’ viral moments than initially meets the eye.

The clip, shared by former professional basketball player Rex Chapman, begins with an elephant in peril, desperately scrambling to get out of a ditch. It’s a tough watch, with the animal clearly unable to lift themselves out. Then, at the corner of the screen, an excavator appears.


Nudging carefully towards the elephant, while a group of men can be heard chatting excitedly off camera, the man driving the excavator gently pushes the helpless creature from beneath with the bucket, lifting until it can pull itself up and onto its feet.

It’s a lovely moment, and you can practically feel the relief of the elephant as it pads about on the grass, relieved as it finds solid ground at last.

The men off camera can be heard cheering and clapping, and as the elephant looks back at them, it feels that there’s a moment of understanding between them that transcends language. The elephant is happy to be free, and the men watching are happy for it.


What happens next is either touching touching and sweet, or slightly alarming. The excavator moves over to the elephant, and as the bucket meets the trunk, it’s almost as if the animal is thanking another elephant for its assistance with a ‘high five’.


This Disney-esque moment has understandably warmed a lot of hearts, with one person gushing:

Omg that beautiful elephant thanked the wonderful operator.

Another said:

Wow! He ‘fist bumped’ them to say thanks…. Well, snort bumped, but that was so cool! Bless the rescuers.


However, what happened next has left people feeling a bit uncomfortable, reminding them of the far from simple relationship between animals and humans.


Alternatively, the ‘high five’ could be the elephant butting heads with the strange, invasive machine encroaching on the animal’s natural habitat. Though the machine has helped the elephant out of a tight spot, the ditch wouldn’t be there at all if the digger wasn’t there in the first place.

Just as the sweet ‘fist bump’ was taking place, loud shouting could be heard from the men off camera and a flare was thrown towards the elephant, causing it to run away, perhaps because the men thought the elephant might charge at them.

Although some people noted that the men had probably scared the elephant away for safety reasons, both for its own sake and theirs, it’s still sad to remember how much animals live at the mercy of humans, who dig ditches in their habitats and scare them with things they don’t understand.

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Julia Banim

Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.

Topics: Animals, elephant, India


Rex Chapman/Twitter
  1. Rex Chapman/Twitter