The Asiatic Elephant
Elephas Maximus Indicus
Ponderous yet powerful, the Asian Elephant is a force to reckon with. They can be the most loving and playful animals, or they can wreck havoc.
It’s always wise to look for them with one of our experienced naturalists by your side, so that you stay on the right side of them. You’ll often sight them in a herd, with the matriarch in the lead, or a lone bull tusker as he tramples across the forest floor, foraging along the way.
Corbett, with its vast terrain, dense forest, and lots of waterbodies, is ideal for elephants as they like to migrate from one end of the park to the other.
In Kaziranga, the tall elephant grass is sometimes the battleground for a tense stand-off between the elephant and a stalking tiger, or a hostile rhino.
When an angry elephant starts swinging its tail and flapping its ears, even these apex creatures know it’s time to back off.
The Kabini river in Nagarhole, or the riverbanks in Periyar, lend themselves to the elephant lifestyle, and are some of our favourite places to watch these giants revel in their environment.
You are likely to see entire herds with babies, mamas and papas frolicking in the mud and swimming playfully in the water. By and large, they are peaceful animals, and an important keystone species. Male elephants are vital to the ecosystem because they not only disperse seed in their dung as they migrate from place to place, but also use their tusks to dig water-holes that quenches the thirst of all the animals in the food chain.
The Asiatic Elephant is a protected species in India. It’s greatest threats come from poaching for its priceless tusks, and human-animal conflict.
In recent years states like Assam and Kerala have relocated entire villages that were in the path of the elephant’s migratory corridor. Conservationists have also actively lobbied for railway lines and roads to be shifted so that the elephant’s route remains untouched.