In to the Wild - Meeting A Tusker9/09/2010 04:50:00 AM
Bandipur, is famous for wild Tuskers, and here I've got another story from the forest featuring a 20-25 years old Tusker we sighted almost in the beginning of our 2rd safari of 2nd Day in Bandipur National Park. This wan't a usual sighting of a tusker running behind a safari/jeep or spotted on the road. what made this sight special was, what we experienced in that special half hour of the day. Something what a wildlife lover crave for is somehow being able to witness their lives, seeing 'em doing things as simple as their daily routines, and this experience was something very similar kind to us, and it was bound to have left us all overwhelmed and cheering.
A tusker is an elephant that wear tusks. All African elephants, of both sexes, are tusksers. In India (before the poaching during the seventies) about 50% were tusker´s, the others are refered to as Maknas. In Sri Lanka only 25% wear tusks.(See Ethas) Today, because of poaching, tusker s in India are rare, especially in Periyar (Thekkady) National park in Kerala.
During the eighties and nighties, A criminal band leader, Verappan (known in this state as a"Robin Hood") from the state of Tamil Nadu in India, killed several hundreds of elephants, most of them tusker´s, and about 50 game wardens. So in the case of the Asian elephants, the poaching has not only reduced the population, but also disturbed the balance in the sex ratio of wild populations. Most of the captive beautiful Indian tusker´s, owned by the temples around the city of Trichur, or at the temples of Guruvajoor, in Kerala, are rarely or never bred, so their genes will probably not be passed on to next generations. ( definition from elephant.se )
This wild one was walking to our left when one of us saw it. Driver slowed down the vehicle, pushed it back a little and stopped still, and in fractions of second, all of us were pointing our cameras to him. he wasn't really far, I could easily reach him with my Canon EF-S 18-200mm IS, that I had mounted on my Canon 450D DSLR body. He took his trunk inside his stomach, sucked some water, pulled it out, and threw that water out on the ground. (emptying his stomach eh?)
after doing this exercise a couple of times, fairly looking like if he's enjoying doing it, I think he had quite noticed that we were watching him. next was the download exercise ( manure out on the ground), and he finally started walking towards the bushes. I was wondering if that was all we could see him for, and he would soon disappear into those bushes.
Since this first my very first safari trip, and very first sighting, it was hard for me to interpret anything, and behavior to the least. I had my ears open though, closely following what others' seemingly wild-lfe experts had to say about it. It seemed he was sneaking in to bushes, and next moment he went half inside, in no time, came this loud sound of bamboo sticks breaking. he was pushing it hard. I heard some people saying he's charging up. surely I couldnt figure yet, except the literal meaning of it :P I kept quiet and waited for his next move. the next moment he was coming out and Oh.. he had 2 small green bamboo sticks curled up in his trunk. I couldn't help but smile.
He dropped the green bamboo sticks on the ground, then picked one of those and holding one side of it on the ground with his foot, starts peeling it off.. :) what a phenomena.. well I never thought of this until now, that peeling is something that comes so natural to these wild animals, amazed I was.
That peeled-off green bamboo, he took his own sweet time and once he was done with his breakfast, he started walking.
His next move was perhaps to model for us. he was turning his appendage left-right, up-down, on and over his molars, eyes and ears. one of the pose seemed like salutation as well. overall it was so much fun to see him doing all this till those experienced ones amongst us, announced to all, that he wanted to cross the road and we have our vehicle blocking his path. so we should pull the vehicle back a little more.
I waved him goodbye, and upon him making this gesture, everyone laughed as he's also waving good bye to me, he crossed the road, gave us another look and moved in to bushes again.
Pics - Un-edited. click on each to get a large view. Thanks to YPS for this amazing experience and trip. Moreover, Thank you Mr. Gentle-Tusker for all the entertainment. pleasure all ours.