Lifting Lucy a labour of love

25 April 2008

A damsel in distress, in the form of Lucy – a 45-year-old elephant weighing 9,000 pounds – was rescued last month by Dawes Rigging and Crane Rental in the US. Lucy stumbled and fell in her yard at the Milwaukee County Zoo in Wisconsin. Unable to lift herself up, Lucy's plight soon became an emergency.

Using an 80 tonne capacity Liebherr LTM 1080 all terrain rigged with a sling furnished by the zoo, Dawes crane operator Dave Gierach saved Lucy's life by gently lifting the pachyderm to her feet in a matter of minutes. While lifting elephants, or any animal for that matter, is not a routine job, Gierach and the Dawes team was relieved that Lucy was so cooperative. Soft slings were placed under the elephant's limbs and, as she was gently lifted upwards and forward, she helped out by trying to stand on her own.

Gierach lifted Lucy forward just enough for the crane to take some of her weight, allowing her to stand up on her rear legs alone. Lucy even appeared to know what to do, because just as she got to her feet,

Gierach slackened the sling a little, allowing the elephant to pull her leg out of it and walk free.

“It was a feel good job,” said Joe Ruddell, Dawes sales manager, who was at the site to assist with the lift. “The beauty of it is that she is now doing fine and it felt good to be involved and be able to help out in our community.”

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