Experiential travel stories from India and 31 other countries!

Welcome to the Jungle, said the Asian Elephant in Corbett

Asian Elephant

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.

Corbett National Park
Captured in Corbett National Park in the third week of February 2020
Have you seen an Asian Elephant in a jungle in India?
There is an Asian elephant in the right corner. Look closely!

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.

Jungle Safari in Corbett National Park
Take me back in the woods!
Jungle Safari of 2020
Such pretty moments!

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.

Sunrise in the jungles
While we waited, we saw the sunrise too
Super delighted after spotting Asian elephant
Birds of a feather flock together!

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.

Asian elephant walked right in front of us!
And the wait was worth it!

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!

  1. They are the largest terrestrial mammal of the continent.
  2. They are huge but smaller than African elephants.
  3. In comparison, they have smaller ears too. They are easy to identify by their smaller, rounded ears.
  4. They communicate through rumbles, bellows, and moans.
  5. They eat lots of roots, grasses, fruit, and bark, majorly forage plants.
  6. They are classified as endangered species.
  7. Asian elephants have a finger-like feature on the end of their trunk. This helps them to grab things. African elephants have two.
  8. They are very intelligent!
  9. The herds of Asian elephants is smaller in size in comparison to the Savannah elephants in Africa.
  10. 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.

Corbett is great place for birding too.
Corbett is great place for birding too.

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.

12 thoughts on “Welcome to the Jungle, said the Asian Elephant in Corbett

  1. I have seen African elephants in several places but never an Asian Elephant. And I can agree they looked like the lord of the animals! From a distance, the elephants look almost playful. But that should not lull you into getting too close! I love when you catch a view of the animals and have that view all to yourself. We will certainly keep Corbett National Park in mind for an Indian safari.

  2. That is a lovely sighting indeed. I can imagine the joy of seeing the baby elephant too. They might be small in age but they sure are bigger than you. I remember seeing some in Sri Lanka. Have heard a lot about the variety of birds that one can see in Corbett and around. May this situation improve and we get a chance to see it for ourselves.

  3. I’d love to do this kind of safari one day. I’ve only seen Asian elephants in Thailand, and not at their most natural state! You got some great captures here, it looked like a great day.

  4. This refreshed my childhood memory of staying inside Jim Corbett .you know those were the days when the forest allowed staying in core area ..and I remembered vaguely how I encountered these herd of big asian elephants out there.. It was scary then but I feel adventurous now ..

  5. Yes, you are right about elephants! They are huge and simply lovable. I do have some great memories of viewing wild elephants. There were 2 instances when a couple of wild elephants decided to cross the road (which are also elephant corridors) keeping all the vehicles waiting. They were in Dooars and Bhalukpong. I can still remember the thrill of watching those wild elephants in front of me. Corbett National Park is one of the places that I want to visit. Loved reading about your experience there. And yes, it was good to know so much about Asian elephants!

  6. Wow! It sounds like you have had some amazing jungle safaris and I’m jealous! It’s interesting to me that the guide knew there was an elephant in the area. I always wonder how they know that sort of thing. I love that the baby hung around showing off for 15 minutes. What a great memory!

  7. I love elephants as they really look very cute to me. Though they have huge body but still they look very humble and cheerful creature. It must be really a great trip with sight of sunrise and then an elephant. Oh I was not knowing that Corbett National Park was once known as Hailey National Park. And I always thought this national park for tigers only but good to know that it is worth watching for elephant.

  8. I adore elephants, the facts about Asian Elephants are interesting. Why are they considered endangered species? Is it because their tusks are sold? This jungle visit is an absolutely dream for me. It’s great that you had knowledgeable guide that could feed you in on every detail. Did you book the tour through an agent?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.