"Wading neck deep in a swamp, your revolver is neither use nor ornament until you have had time to clean it" Mary H. Kingsley (1897)

Mother And Infant

I didn’t see anything at first.

We had just emerged from the bamboo forest and it was Simon, our driver, who gestured for silence.

Initially only the adult could be made out clearly.
But as she gained confidence and moved closer, we could see the baby beside her.


It was a time of shyness,


And hiding from the sight of strangers,
As with any young child.

________________ ________________

Then the magical moment was over. They both retreated back into the forest, as silently as they had arrived

I have seen almost countless numbers of working elephants.
But this was my first sighting of Indian elephants in the wild.



14 responses

  1. These images are absolutely captivating … what a gift you were given.

    May 3, 2011 at 8:04 am

    • We were incredibly fortunate.

      May 3, 2011 at 8:07 am

  2. The third and fourth pictures are very moving. I’m so glad to see some like this without all their man made ornamentations.

    May 3, 2011 at 11:55 am

    • Seeing working elephants elicits mixed feelings. There’a a tremendous rush of excitement being near these beautiful and powerful creatures. But looking at the heavy chain on the leg of every such elephant, always brings a pang of sadness.
      I’m sure most mahouts love their animals and treat them gently but some are less caring. There are regular incidents where elephants run amok. And it’s not always males in musth. A certain amount of abuse in captivity also occurs.

      May 3, 2011 at 2:56 pm

  3. Toffeeapple

    That must have been a heart-stopping moment, how wonderful. I would have felt very privileged to see that.

    May 3, 2011 at 2:31 pm

    • It’s a pleasure to share such a wonderful, unexpected and relatively rare moment.

      May 3, 2011 at 3:05 pm

  4. truly magical. thank you.

    May 3, 2011 at 2:37 pm

  5. Not quite the same thing as seeing a bear in the Smoky Mountains. Amazing photos, J.

    May 3, 2011 at 6:06 pm

    • Our experience was probably a little safer! But we kept quite still and took great care to avoid suggesting any threat to the infant. Mother elephants will trample and kill humans when they think their young are at risk.

      May 3, 2011 at 6:16 pm

  6. Pingback: A Visit To The Hill-Top Temple « Neither Use Nor Ornament

  7. the shy picture #3 is so nice.

    May 7, 2011 at 9:01 pm

    • It seems elephant responses are very similar to ours…

      May 8, 2011 at 8:08 am

  8. Pingback: Homeward Bound « Neither Use Nor Ornament

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