An African proverb goes by the saying, “Even if the elephant is thin, he is still the lord of the jungle”. I would say, be it African or Asian, elephant is still the lord!
Have you encountered an Asian Elephant in a jungle safari? I bet not many would have asked you about an elephant, as enthusiastically as me. Some may have seen but would not have bothered to remember because we are too obsessed with the idea of spotting a tiger than anything else. No doubt, the big cats are charming. Any chance encounter with them is great but the sole experience of being in the woods, taking a safari ride and having random encounters with animals and birds of all kinds, is far more thrilling. I am an enthusiastic wildlife lover and I enjoy jungle safaris. In this blog, I talk about my recent sighting of an enigmatic Asian Elephant. Trust me, nothing could have been better & enthralling than the wonderful sighting of this lovely creature in its own habitat. For now, just stay home and enjoy the read.
Asiatic or Asian Elephant is huge, iconic and lovable.
Thanks to their majestic size and unusual features, elephants belong to my favorites list. Their trunks, small eyes and huge body has always caught my fancy. Spotting them in a safari is a bucket list goal for many wildlife enthusiasts. And I definitely have been lucky, more than once. I have seen the African elephant in a game drive in Pilanesburg National Park near Johannesburg, during my visit in 2016 and recently I had this tete-a-tete with Asian elephant, in the Jhirna region of Corbett National Park.
God is big, but the forest is bigger – Brazilian Proverb
I know a lot of us couldn’t go to National parks this year and the summer season is over. We missed our safaris, the thrills, the encounters and the adrenaline rush of the jungle. But until we start again, let us keep sharing and taking joy in each other’s past trips. I will not talk much but share some lovely pictures from the most recent safari trip.
I, along with three other travel bloggers visited Aahana – The Corbett Wilderness Resort in Ramnagar in February 2020. There was still some chill in the air, the afternoons were sunny and it was a great time to be in the lap of nature. We had been booked on an early morning safari in the Jhirna range of Corbett National Park, India’s oldest national park and we couldn’t wait to spot some beautiful species in the wilderness. We picked our id cards, geared up appropriately and prayed for a good safari day. The ride started at sharp 6:30 and soon, the silence and the chirping of the birds took over the clamor of the city life. Our lungs thanked us for the heaps of fresh air and the body enjoyed the excitement of the jungle ride. While driving us through the popular safari route, our guide cum driver filled us with some interesting facts about the jungle. We listened and enjoyed nature’s wonderful treat. It has just been an hour in the jungle and while we were still enjoying the visual treats of the landscapes, he surprised us with an undeclared halt and said, “There is an elephant nearby and we will wait.” He also added that this is the mating time of the elephants and thus the chances of spotting them are high during this time.
The Corbett National Park was initially known as Hailey National Park and the park acted as a national reserve for Bengal tigers. Spread over an area of 520 square kilometers, the forest never fails to impress with its hillocks, marshy land, grasslands and a lake. With 70 percent of it covered with trees, 10 percent grasslands, it is known to be home to more than 500 species of birds.
The wait of 5 minutes was worth it. A baby elephant walked out of the woods and welcomed us in the most amusing way. It kept swaying it its own style and walked from one corner to another. It stood there for sometime and we had him in sight for almost fifteen minutes. It was such a joyful sight. We were truly overwhelmed at his cute antics. I can only say it was one of my happiest moments in an Indian jungle. Last time I had been so happy when I had seen tiger in Pench National Park and a leopard and her cub in the forests of Kabini.
The day was made. We kept smiling for the rest of the ride. We also waited for a tiger at couple of spots but we dint care much. We also spotted lots of monkeys, langurs ans some interesting birds like Himalayan vulture (Gyps himalayensis) or Himalayan griffon vulture and hornbills (Bucerotidae). Overall, it was a beautiful and blessed day in this year. (Otherwise, we know what this year has been like.)
Asian Elephant have small ears!
- They are the largest terrestrial mammal of the continent.
- They are huge but smaller than African elephants.
- In comparison, they have smaller ears too. They are easy to identify by their smaller, rounded ears.
- They communicate through rumbles, bellows, and moans.
- They eat lots of roots, grasses, fruit, and bark, majorly forage plants.
- They are classified as endangered species.
- Asian elephants have a finger-like feature on the end of their trunk. This helps them to grab things. African elephants have two.
- They are very intelligent!
- The herds of Asian elephants is smaller in size in comparison to the Savannah elephants in Africa.
- They are native to India and Southeast Asia.
You must check out these two videos too, made by my friends who were with me during the safari.
I hope Nature and Wildlife heals soon!
Year 2020 could have been a perfect wildlife year for me but if nature is healing, let it be that way! First I had an amazing trip to Sabah in Malaysia (which was Covid free then) where I had a chance to see the native proboscis monkeys (Nasalis larvatus). And then this encounter with the elephant in Corbett. Just keeping my fingers crossed for good and happy times to return soon.
Disclaimer – When I did these trips in February, there were hardly any positive cases in India (except 3 in Kerala) and we were happily traveling, here and there.