A rampaging elephant smashed a house in an Indian village on Monday night, but when it heard a crying baby, the animal turned back and carefully removed the debris from the infant’s body.
Dipak Mahato and his wife, Lalita, were eating dinner when they heard cracking and crashing sounds coming from the bedroom.
"We ran over and were shocked to see the wall in pieces and a tusker standing over our baby," Dipak told The Times of India."She was crying and there were huge chunks of the wall lying all around and on the cot."
The elephant, which forest officials say has killed three people in the last year, pulled the rubble from the 10-month-old and then headed back into the forest.
"I can't believe that the tusker saved my daughter after breaking down the door and smashing a wall." Lalita said. "We watched amazed as it gently removed the debris that had fallen on her. It's a miracle."
The couple took their daughter to the hospital where she was treated for external injuries but otherwise found to be in good health.
Conflict has increased in parts of India in recent years because villages have expanded into land that's part of the elephants' migration routes.
Herds routinely raid farms and destroy houses, but rarely attack people.
"Unless people attack an elephant, these gentle giants do not harm human beings. They only come down here in search of food," said forestry official Purulia Prokash.
Six months ago villagers from India's Madarihat reported that an elephant herd carefully removed a little girl from harm's way before smashing several houses.