Lifescapes Gallery

23 / Feb / 2011
Not a ‘Merchant’ Ivory Production
Asiatic Bull Elephant, Kabini Photograph: Dr. Sameer Rao Story: Rajesh Ramaswamy

Not a ‘Merchant’ Ivory Production

For centuries, elephants have been seen merely as mobile ivory holders: temporary guardians, as it were, of the world’s most sought after merchandise. The unscrupulous trade in ivory had contributed greatly to the depredation of elephant numbers. Today, conservational activism and legislation have significantly reduced poaching, and the magnificent specimen that we see in this image, has less reason to worry, than at any other period of time. And he is most secure in this ecosystem, where, in the contiguous area of Kabini and the Nilgiri biosphere, you will find the single greatest concentration of Asiatic Elephants. The Bull Elephant featured here, is smaller than his African cousin, but is imposing nonetheless. At his prime, the Bull stands 9 feet at the shoulder and weighs upwards of four tonnes. If sheer size weren’t enough, he also boasts rather heavy armament in the gigantic, curved tusks that he sports so regally. This would be truly intimidating, if not for the fact that he is so gentle, intelligent and sensitive. Which is why he’s so loved and venerated, and is a part of the warp and weft of Indian history, religion and mythology. Of course, ‘gentle’ and ‘sensitive’ are not words that come to mind when this same Bull goes into ‘musth’, a condition of heightened testosterone build up that occurs post-puberty. This is the one time everybody stays clear of a Bull Elephant, for he becomes highly excitable and potentially violent. Did we say ‘everybody’? Well, it seems not, for the girls in Kabini seem to suddenly go weak-kneed when a Bull in ‘musth’ stomps by. Proof that it isn’t only in Hollywood productions that the fairer sex seems to prefer bad boys!

We at Orange County have loved sharing this story with you, and shall bring you one every fortnight, as part of our Responsible Tourism Initiatives to raise awareness about the nature and culture of the environments we operate in.

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011 at 10:01 am and is filed under Mammals . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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User Comments
  1. Anu Elisha says:

    I love the titles. They are so wonderfully apt and extremely witty! Wonderful photograph too… 😉

  2. Ravi Subramanyam says:

    Sir, the Asian Elephant is really amazing!

  3. Diwakaran Nair says:

    Outstanding image and great twist for a story…can’t make up my mind which is better…haha:-)

  4. Praveen Pinto says:

    Amazing pic! I do hope to get an opportunity to photograph a specimen like this bull elephant one day.

  5. Ajit K Huilgol says:

    Great perspective here, Sameer! Kabini sure is a great place to photograph these gentle giants from a boat.

  6. Neville & Yvonne Bampton says:

    We very much enjoy the wonderful photographs and stories that you send us. Thank you.

  7. Mohan says:

    What a beautiful picture. The write ups are always inspiring.

  8. Kannan .K.V. says:

    Dr.Rao, your photo really makes this guy look gentle and sensitive. Fantastic! I have had a couple of opportunities to see this chap in the wild and he is so awesome. obviously not during ‘masthy’ ,as I have lived to tell the tale.Thank you Orange County for this article.

  9. Anitha says:

    As always, have enjoyed your read. Fab pic and great piece of write-up.


  10. Vijay Rao says:

    I just loved the angle on this shot … Hats off, Doc and kudos to Orange County for bringing the magnificence of Kabini to my desktop.

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