Asian Wild Elephant
Sacred but exploited, the Asian elephant has been worshipped for centuries and is still used today for ceremonial and religious purposes. Not only is it revered for its role within Asian culture and religion, it is also a key biological species in the tropical forests of Asia.
The Asian wild elephants are smaller than the African elephants. They are usually gray or brown in colour, as may be mostly masked by soil. They are extremely intelligent and self-aware. Asian elephants are timid and much more ready to flee from a foe than to attack. However, solitary rogues are frequently an exception to this rule, and sometimes make unprovoked attacks on passers-by. Rogue elephants sometimes take up a position near a road, making it impassable to travellers. Females with calves are at all times dangerous to approach. When an Asian elephant makes a charge, it tightly curls up its trunk and attacks by trampling its victim with feet or knees, or, if a male, by pinning it to the ground with its tusks. During musth, bulls are highly dangerous, not only to human beings, but also to other animals.
In the face of rapidly growing human populations, the Asian elephants’ habitat is shrinking fast and wild elephant populations are mostly small, isolated, and unable to mingle as ancient migratory routes are cut off by human settlements. WWF considers the Asian elephant a ‘flagship’ species, whose conservation would help maintain biological diversity and ecological integrity over extensive areas, because these large animals need a lot of space to survive. Conservation efforts taken by forest authorities in southern part of India, especially in Kerala, Karnataka and Tamilnadu deserve much appreciation as i have witnessed their initiatives many times during my visits to places like Mudumalai, Bandipur and Gudallur.
Location: Bandipur National Park
Thanks to our Safari officer – Mr. Siddiraj (A very dedicated forest guard @ Bandipur National Park)