Indian Elephants

Elephant probably is the most talked about mammalian species (other than the Royal Bengal Tiger) in the context of Indian wildlife safaris - if only because it provides the only alternative safari vehicle to the commoner four-wheel variety.

Also, without any doubt, elephant is the only animal species whose domesticated variety has been far more popular the world over than its wild version in the jungle. Ironically, owing to the far-reaching ingenuity of the humans, the deadly 'shikaar' combination of elephants and fire arms has probably been the single most devastating factor in the decimation of big game in the Indian subcontinent.

Elephants live in a matriarchal family group of related females called a herd. They are led by the oldest and often largest female in the herd. Herds consist of eight to 100 individuals. Males may be associated with a herd, solitary or may live temporarily with other males. Elephants produce a variety of sounds including low frequency calls, high pitched calls and loud trumpeting.

Asian elephants eat grass, bark, roots and leaves. They also like crops such as banana grown by farmers, making them a pest in agricultural areas. Adult elephants eat about 330 pounds of food a day. They must drink water every day and are never far from a water source.

Asian elephants stand eight to ten feet tall at the shoulder. Females weigh about 6,000 pounds and males can weigh up to 11,900 pounds!

Facts about Asian and African Elephants
Asian elephants are distinguished from the African ones by their smaller size, smaller ears, more rounded back, and fourth toenail on each of their hind feet. They have thick, dry skin with a small amount of stiff hair, and are grey to brown in colour.

Asian elephants are mainly found across India and Sri Lanka and towards the south and east as far as Sumatra. They live in a range of habitats from grasslands to wet forests. Asian Elephants have a varied vegetarian diet, and feed on grasses, bamboo, leaves, bark, shoots, creepers and palms. They also prefer seasonal variety sometimes such as fig leaves and fruits, wood apple and mango.

Indian Elephants are very sociable animals and march from forest to forest, seldom staying in one for more than a few days. However, few males in their youth prefer to lead a solitary life. When on the move, the females lead the herd, with the tuskers lagging behind, unless alerted to some approaching danger.

Threat For Elephants
The elephant population is vulnerable to unscrupulous poachers due to their precious ivory tusks. Elephant tusks can weigh up to 22 kg a pair. Elephants feed on barks, roots, fruit and grasses. The elephant population is now part of the Elephant Project, a nation wide conservation effort to protect these lumbering beasts from extinction. Manas, Corbett, Dalma and Palamu, Bandipur and Nagarhole, Periyar and Madumalai are the best places to watch the Indian Elephant in its natural habitat.

Wildlife Safari on Elephant in India
In India the elephant safaris can be use to enjoy watching wildlife. The Jim Corbett National, Bandhavgarh national park and the Dudhwa Tiger Reserve, all offers excellent elephant safari options.

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