The herd consisted of three adult females, and eight juveniles, all of which had been stuck in a mud-filled bomb crater for four days, according to an environmental official.
Keo Sopheak, the head of the environmental office in eastern Mondulkiri province, told AFP, “They got in there to drink water and could not get out.”
Farmers and conservationists WCS organised a rescue effort.
“We had to dig away the edge of the crater by hand to make a path,” the official said. Adding that they also pumped water into the crater to thin the sludge so the elephants could manoeuvre more easily.
Without their help, the elephants likely would have drowned. Once rescued, they gladly wandering back into the nearby jungle.
There are believed to only several hundred of the endangered Asian elephants in Cambodia, according to conservation groups.