Posts Tagged ‘elephants’

NCF: Excellent work in Valparai on resolution of elephant-human conflict

July 29, 2014

When we went to Valparai in April 2014, I was able to meet Ananda Kumar, and of course, I know Ganesh Raghunathan quite well (though I’ve never been able to meet him at his “workplace”!)

Many organizations that I belong to are addressing this knotty problem of elephant-human conflict; the problem is particularly bad in the Ragihalli/Shivanahalli area of the Bannerghatta National Park, and yes, there have been fatalities there, too.

So, when I saw this documentary on the work being done by Ganesh and Anand, under the aegis of Nature Conservation Foundation (NCF), I was very heartened.


is one of my FB albums from our last visit. I suppose that in the limited time Anand had, he could hardly touch the tip of the subject, but he certainly held us spellbound in that time!

I’d gone with the others to document something of the behaviour of the Lion-tailed Macaques, as I did in

this post

But the ecology of an area is a holistic picture, and certainly all the mammals, birds, plant life and human beings form part of the whole; the co-existence and the conflict are two parts of the same coin.

Thank you, Evanescence Studios, for producing this wonderful feature. It’s 16 minutes long, but well worth the time.

The Camp Elephants at Bannerghatta Zoo, April 2014

April 15, 2014


Having gone thrice to the zoo area in the course of a week, I was able to see the camp elephants being brought back from their foraging trips in the periphery of the Bannerghatta forest area.


I must say, I am very impressed with the health of these camp elephants, and their excellent relationships with their mahouts.

They are fed large balls of rAgi (a kind of millet that Karnataka is famous for…Kannadigas love rAgi muddhE, small balls of rAgi flour, with sAmbhAr), every day, and are given enough fodder, too.

As they come back towards the Kingfisher Pond, they seem to love having dust baths. Here are the females, lying down in the dust:


They are helped by their mahouts…the second one is just about settling down!



Look at the little one nuzzling up!


The amount of dust that a female human being would instantly set about cleaning, seems welcome to a female elephant!



A young one comes along curiously (she’s called Roopa):


There’s work to be done…this wood has to be carried inside the zoo, but neither youngster is doing to do that (just like humans!)


The little one, indeed, roots along happily:



They start walking towards the rear entrance of the zoo:


Here’s a short video of their gait:

It’s left to the adults to bring the baled wood:



The elephant’s trunk and mouth are such amazing things!


Obediently, El Nino follows his mother and aunts:


Now, it is the turn of the tusker (in India, only male elephants have tusks) to come and settle down:



Not an appealing sight, the rear of an elephant? I found it quite interesting…


Because, as the mahout dusted him down, I saw a part of an elephant I’ve never seen before (no, not THAT, you dirty-minded lot!)


The soles of an elephant’s feet!


This tusker is called “Vanaraja” (King of the Forest):


After his dust bath, he headed in the opposite direction, back into the forest periphery:


Here’s the tusker getting up:

We watched him as he swayed off, majestically:


After being brought back into the Zoo, they seemed to be very happy in their enclosure:


Throwing dust over themselves, or dusty stuff, seems to be a way of relaxing:


The unnamed baby was especially happy, lolling about in the fodder:


Elephants together

April 15, 2011

Here is one of the magnificient beasts that I saw in Kaziranga….

tusker 020411

Elephants courting is not something one can see often; we were very lucky, indeed, to see a courting couple:

tusker and another  020411

The couple slowly vanished into the long grass, doubtless cursing the disturbance that we had created….

Apart from courtship, males also bond together; this, too, is rare to see, as tuskers and makanas (tuskless males) are loners in general. Here, too, we were lucky…we saw this bonding behaviour between a tusker, and a male elephant in “musth”:

compnship elphnts 030411

You can see the secretions of the “musth” on the side of the head of the elephant on the right.

It is wise to give tuskers, makanas, and elephants in musth a wide berth….and so we looked, and took our pictures, from afar, and left them to the tall grass and their privacy….

The Challenge….

April 8, 2011

We first watched this magnificient tusker cross the jeep path in the Kaziranga Central Range:

tskr kz w 030411

And a little later, this Makana (tuskless male) came along in the long grass, also wanting to cross the path.

makana kz west 030411

Suddenly the tusker wheeled back and appeared at the edge of the path, challenging the Makana.

We could see both of them regarding each other:

face off 1 030411

They approached each other:

faceoff 2 030411

With bated breath, we watched the encounter:

faceoff 3 030411

But then, the confrontation ended abruptly, and they turned away from each other; the drama was at an end. They seemed to amble off fairly peacefully…

faceoff end 030411

And later, we saw them both near each other, apparently without any aggression!

What Elephant Dung can be Used For…

April 30, 2009

What would be the “right” thing to do?

April 9, 2009

Recently, in Kaziranga, a charging tusker killed a Dutch tourist, though the tourist group was with an armed guard.

What should the guard have done? Should he have shot and killed the elephant, assuming that it was possible?

I got an email from a wildlife egroup that I am a part of

In my opinion I would have chosen to kill the animal to save a human life….. Its harsh, but a human’s life is more precious and can give back by serving wild life conservation.

I find this argument does not hold water because…

1.The tourists were, after all, the ones intruding in the forest, the home of the elephants. 2.Elephants are known to be unpredictable in their behaviour.
3. Who is to decided that “a human’s life is more precious” than an animal’s, morover, an animal that is not doing anything morally or behaviourally “wrong”?
4. How does the writer so confidently state that that the human who has been saved will “give back by wild life conservation”?

I find it truly ironical that the step considered by this conservationist, is to kill wildlife, and then say that the humans thus saved are going to serve the cause of wildlife conservation!

There are no easy answers to the animal/human conflicts that take place more and more often in our jungles…and at their peripheries.

And the old question…how far should tourism go?


December 22, 2008

What beautiful creatures elephants are; we saw these two mothers with their calves, so delightful to see the young ones actually gambolling and playing with each other…

Here’s one of them enjoying a dust-bath:

Just LOOK at these cuties…

We didn’t enjoy the ones WE had to take every day, travelling over the terrain…we looked quite grey overall, by the time we got back home each day, and a hot bath was very much required!

We’re all ears here at Bandipur…

June 19, 2007

we're all ears...

All the better to fan out the gossip we hear!