With the ‘Great Elephant Congregation’ at Kabini just a few months away, it would be nice to take a closer look at these massive mammals. Interestingly, the collective noun for elephants is ‘Parade’, and sure enough, it is one stunning parade that these mighty creatures put up for those who visit Kabini right before summer.
Elephants have an interesting history. Their ancestors who roamed the earth around 50 million years ago, were the size of pigs that closely resembled the Tapirs and the sea cows! Everything about this mighty animal is a wonder of the creator. Right from its trunk, its 40,000-odd muscles and sensitive tips – which are designed to pick up something even as small as a pin, to its large drum-like feet – which are sophisticated pads of pressure-sensitive nerves attuned to detect and transmit seismic vibrations – everything about this massive animal is a wonder. Yes, you read that right. Elephants actually use their feet to help them hear!
A highly evolved and orderly social structure, bound by a sensitive yet firm leadership fabric, in the form of an experienced and dominant matriarchal cow elephant, is how the Elephantine System works. Communication – an important aspect of communal living, forms the backbone of this amazing leadership-driven system. Visual signs, touch, sounds and very low frequency infra-sound (14-35Mhz) – way below the hearing capacities of humans – serve as the basis of their communication.
Huge herds of these beautiful elephants will be dotting the horizon on the banks of the Kabini river in a few months from now, forming the largest congregation of Asiatic elephants in the world. So, get ready for another awesome parade of these wonderful mammals!