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Award Winning Documentary on Elephants

August 6, 2014

 ‘karmic connection with ‘the elephant’?!’

the elephant is always so much huggable, lovable 🙂

 

 

Here is an award winning documentary on the Bengal train accident that killed 7 elephants in India: http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/award-winning-documentary-brings-to-life-manelephant-conflict/article6275962.ece

In this horrific episode all the 7 elephants were mowed down by a speeding train in matter of minutes in 2010. Located this link I had posted then, thank you Facebook Timeline!

http://indiatoday.intoday.in/video/wb-goods-train-kills-7-elephants/1/113786.html

The pictures and  newsreports were everywhere – in papers and tv. Watching the 7 dead elephants lying inert in the railway track with their limbs askew was very traumatic. The elephants were in my mind for over 2 days. The scene kept flashing again and again. For once the entire nation was moved – you had to be if you were human. A nation mourned for these 7 precious, innocent lives. Even the otherwise babbling media reporters sounded subdued at the accident site.  But have things changed since then.

In Munnar-Thekkady, this is why I took elephant safari the following year (2011). Wanted to feel closest to my favourite beast on earth, touch and feel – so spent hours, days with elephants during the 8-day trip. In 2013, holidayed at Coorg where again had great time with my pet jungli-janwar ‘elephants. They were all domesticated, but atleast they were well cared for. They are well-fed and healthy looking be in Munnar or Thekkady or Coorg so that somewhat was pacifying.

In Munnar, took ride on a 63 year old female pachyderm. Old lady. My heart went out to her. Touched her so many times and hugged her tight – as if she was my mother, even if her body hair was rough and pricky. I hope she knew my heart.I told her so many times i loved her.

In Thekkady, rode on a young bull starting the ‘mast’ – just about time. Was a bit scared to be anywhere around him. Was not sure about his temper but we were told he had a mate. He was under control. There were also some calves under one year – you could give them a bath/scrub for a fee. (I did for some elephants in Kaveri river 🙂 )We instead bought them baskets of fruits. How much ever you fed them, any age, they  would devour it all in seconds and ask for more, poor babies!

In Coorg was bowled over by this little naughty 3 year old – so much so that wanted to take him home 🙂 Our son is an only child. In Coorg I felt like having this cute little elephant boy for a younger son. Fed him a lot with my own hands – the fruits, the leaves. Kissed him nonstop. Caressed him to my heart’s content – and when it was time to leave, left with a heavy heart. (Have pictures). Almost like a mischievous impish human child he was – full of pranks and all that. My sweet baby! He kept running about like a pet puppy – but cruelly there were loose chains already in one of his feet that broke my heart. To chain and tame such a beautiful creature is monstrous.

In Coorg/Kaveri river, the captive jumbos are still turned loose into the jungles after the customary river bathing and feeding. So they breed under natural environment. But they return to their feeding spot every morning one by one as if on cue. Even to think that they have been disciplined at mind level by humans is troubling. One foot is chained loose to keep track and control. Otherwise they are fine. But there are cases where some old bulls and matriarchs are also totally cut loose. Here is a case where exists a tacit understanding between the man and the beast.

On the otherhand I was told, since the elephant habitat was shrinking and finding food in summers was getting to be more difficult for our elephants, sometimes, breeding in captivity helps. Even the wild elephants were ‘educated’ somewhat with water troughs placed at strategic points around their waterholes for them to find, by forest department. Welcome human intervention here. I liked the Coorg/Kaveri type arrangement the best. The tamed elephants still retained some wildness about them, being turned out free by noon time to amble about the forests. In harsh summers, the foresters took care of them. Now this is very thoughtful.

Yeah want to go see the Sri Lankan elephants – the elephant orphanage there. It is so closer yet so far. Planning for years now, hopefully will make it next year…

Elephant gestation period is almost 2 years i guess and so elephant breeding is a very important question we have to address. Especially of those held in captivity. Birth of elephant calves is like a miracle, like a gift and survival chances are increasingly turning odd. Which is why elephant deaths are very bothersome. Increasing elephant population must be one of our government’s top priority/agenda.

Elephants/wildlife in India deserve rightfully as much space as us humans and why not.

Elephant breeding in captivity: In Mysore zoo I believe they are doing that. We had this unique experience of watching Indian elephants mating in KL zoo in the year 1998. Our little son did not know what was going on. On that day, the elephant howling started soon as we entered the zoo. It was heard until 6 pm when we left. The male elephant (Indian export or gift) was under severe ‘mast’ – the female was left into the enclosure after 10 am.

The zoo officials told us it was rare for elephants to mate in public – but they did that day. We have pictures but I want to preserve the elephant privacy and dignity (so not sharing the set of photos with anyone). Truly shed a tear for the majestic beast.The level the elephants were pushed to and denied their basic needs made me weep. Did not have a camcorder but many around us recorded it in theirs. We were told it was one in a million chance. After a few minutes I left the spot – unwilling to witness the whole spectacle that went on for hours. The crowd jeering was revolting. Elephants have souls. They are as much sensitive as us humans. The elephant mating we saw that day in zoo still makes me sad.  And the public attitude.

Reminds me why captured elephants in ‘mast’ go on rampage in India. The howling was in our ears for days. For a while we feared for our lives and wanted to run back to our car and make escape. The male tusker was under severe stress and we believe it was in that condition for days before the zoo authorities relented.

The same day we also saw an ostrich getting strangulated in the fence and lose her life in the zoo. All the attention was on the mating elephants and the rest of the zoo was empty. If such a costly error can happen in well-run and maintained zoos like in KL, imagine local ones in India. I am happy with the Mysore zoo but even there I was troubled by the pacing Bengal tiger that kept snarling at us visitors. There were almost a dozen but atleast they were in pairs. Their places were being done afresh (mostly lions and tigers are housed in open enclosures like in Singapore in Mysore and Hyderabad) and they were temporarily housed in largest of cages (when we were visiting). But the sight of caged beauties like tigers always defeats you. Their sheer size and agility even within the enormous steel cages (with top-barred) astounded me – they kept pacing up and down menacingly not resting even for a minute, growling ferociously all the time. Looked healthy, well-fed. But the sore point is, car horning reached even here. Urbanized Junglee Janwar.

We spent one whole day in the Myzore zoo. I had no heart to leave my elephants. There were so many of them under 10 years – wanted to get closer to them and pet them.

Heartening to take note that cricketers like Rahul Dravid are sponsoring wildlife in Mysore zoo. Way to go guys! The entire zoo is mostly sponsored by cricket players of national level, from Karnataka.

Seeing theVandalur Zoo pics posted by a friend. Never been to my own city zoo but been to the Crocodile park many times. So many elephant calves at Vandalur?! Had no idea! Looking good too!n Wow, want to go there ASAP!

News of elephant deaths upsets the tranquility of my heavens always.  And if they have to get slain by speeding trains over natural causes, the effect is worse. There are no enough eyes to shed tears for these beautiful creations of God, not enough hearts to give them all the love they want…otherwise can this happen right before our eyes. Human hearts are laden with lead. Heartfelt tributes to the slain elephants – you deserve better my dear ones. I remember the accident too very well, I will remember you always!

Here is a trailer of the award winning documentary on elephants: http://www.imdb.com/video/wab/vi2399576857/

Checking the You Tube.  Waiting for the release date.

Elephant empathy:  Learned of this a long time back through Wilbur Smith’s ‘Elephant song’ and through National Geographic, Discovery, Animal Planet channels. Yet it never tires me to see the gentle giants again and again and again in tv or wherever. Look at the human like grief and compassion they have for their dead: this is just not possible unless someone has the sixth sense. Which is why elephants need to be treated with love and respect. They know.

http://elephantopia.org/2014/08/03/happy-weekend-elephant-emphathy/

Elephants and cows – how more beautiful can God craft life?

Cow and her Calf - they were our first houseguests during our housewarming. Signs of fertility and prosperity. A pooja for the mother & the calf - living Gods on planet earth.

Cow and her Calf during ‘Grihapravesh’ (housewarming) ceremony of someone’s unfinished home (!) in Chennai. Symbol of fertility and prosperity. Mother & calf fed heartily loads of bananas after pooja 🙂

Rounding off with this one: Indian govt please…. do something to save our elephants and stop these heart-wrenching train-accidents. On war-footing basis. 3 matrons, 3 calves and a bull were lost in the 2010 accident – an irreparable loss to India. Still can’t get over it if I think about it. Similarly we have elephants hitting the electric fences in south. The farmers and estate owners deliberately pass more power into the fences than permitted to do away with elephant menace permanently. Add to this the poaching threat. In 100 years or even less I wonder whether there will be any elephant left out in the Indian subcontinent. Can’t ever imagine an India without elephants.

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