|Ranger on Tiger Patrol - Kanha NP|
While on safari in India, it is likely that you will come across National Park rangers on patrol, mounted on Elephants.
Riding Elephants (while traditional in India) is undoubtedly a controversial subject and one that includes cultural and conservation elements as well as animals welfare considerations.
|A young Elephant under training|
During my recent Indian safari, I talked to a few of the Mahout's and Forestry rangers to try to better understand their issues and need to be mounted on Elephants. Without doubt, I met individuals who cared for their animals, both Elephant and Tigers. Elephants are used to transport the rangers into the jungle where vehicle access is not possible, to monitor the resident Tigers. Which in turn, appear to tolerate Elephants and therefore the impact on Tiger behaviour is minimised.
I met with one Mahout who (while he was caring for a sick Tiger in dense jungle), was able to get relatively close to the stricken Tiger on Elephant back, at which point he bravely dismounted to pour water over the sick Tiger in order to offer some respite from the heat and to cool it down as it lay incapacitated in the jungle. Thankfully that Tiger recovered.
|On patrol in the dense jungle|
Written by Will Fox