Friday, February 18, 2011

Wild Elephants at Kaziranga National Park,Assam.

It was our privilege to be one with nature in this vast paradise of wilderness, popularly known as the Kaziranga National Park, a UN world heritage site. It is located in the North-eastern state of Assam, India. To name a few animals which calls this home - One-horned Rhinos, Wild Buffalos, Elephants, Royal Bengal Tiger, Swamp Deer, Barking deer, Leopard, Jackal, Turtle, Tortoise, the winged varieties are a bird watchers delight. This forest lies in the flood plains of the river Brahmaputra, in the monsoon season the river often overflows and floods the grasslands, when animals migrate to higher grounds. It has its usual share of human and wildlife conflicts with villages skirting the forest edge, Elephants often cross path with human habitat and create havoc. A national highway cuts through the forest disrupting movement of wildlife. Inspite of all odds, this forest thrives and is haven to wildlife and lifeline for people like us who detest the concrete jungles. Before we entered the forest gates I wished I could site wild elephants which have long eluded me. This post is dedicated to the pachyderms sited during our visit.
We had hired a jeep from the forest department to tour the forest. Our team constituted our lady guide (a wild life enthusiast), car driver and our family of four including our daughters aged 4 and one all of 9 months. Though we had sighted a large variety of animals that evening we were little low as we had not sighted the elephants and light was fast fading and we were on our way back. Just then we heard an elephant from very near. Our vehicle came to a halt but the noise of the engine had scared them away. Though we could hear them they were out of sight in the dense vegetation. Even after a wait of 15-20 minutes with engine switched off the elephants did not find it wise to break cover, we moved ahead and decided to wait again at a distance. Soon enough we saw the herd leader (matriarch) sniffing in the air to check for any danger, within the next few minutes a herd of elephants appeared and crossed the vehicle tracks with a baby elephant in tow, to our sheer delight. No so for our younger daughter though, who decided to scream, as the vehicle had stopped which did not seem interesting to her anymore. Some choco-corn flakes did the trick and was quiet again.

Next morning we sited these two male elephants taking stock of each other with some posturing.

Another herd decided to cross the tracks, the matriarch takes stock of danger, if any, before the herd crosses.

See my teeth! Can your tooth paste produce so much of shine:)

You better be scared!!

Another elephant just appears.And poses for a pic.

This one appeared too close to us for comfort...

Would be back soon with few other posts from our visit.