Elephant in our tiger reserves
Read an article about tamed elephants in India. Find out how they are used in tiger reserves for patrolling and safaris.
Used in ancient times in battlefields the elephants have been tamed in India and trained since a long time back. This is unique to India and some Asian countries. The art of capturing young elephants and training them for various purpose has thrived in India.
Elephants are worshiped as avatars of Ganesha and are considered as sacred by Hindus. The tamed elephants have proved as very useful to wildlife conservation in India. A large number of tiger reserves use the pachyderms for patrolling and elephant back rides.
The elephants are used for patrolling park boundaries. This task is carried out extensively during the rains when the slush prevents guard vehicles from moving about.
Parks like Corbett, Kanha, Bandhavgarh and Pench are famous for elephant rides. These parks offer both long and short rides. The last three parks offer organized tiger show as well.
This is a form of elephant back ride which is very short. The elephants and their riders (mahouts) are expert tiger trekkers. They leave before dawn in search of the tigers. There are usually four to six animals searching for the big cats. Once they trace out a tiger they cordon it preventing it from leaving the place. The tourists are then taken on elephant back to the spot where the big cat is lying.
This is a good way to see the tiger, especially for those who have not been able to see it on jeep safaris. A fee has to be paid for this elephant ride to see the tiger.
The long rides are available for few hours but are costly. Those who can afford it get to experience the jungle from close. This is a unique way to explore the forests and track the elusive beast.
Some of the tiger safari parks like Corbett, Periyar, Kaziranga, Namdhapha are good places to see the wild elephants in India. But elephant back rides may not be available everywhere in India.
Some of the big hotels in Kanha are known to offer private elephant rides. These resorts have taken permission to keep elephants with them. Since private elephants are not allowed in the park they ride takes place in the nearby forests. Nevertheless it is pure fun. These are also termed as joy rides. .