Half a rupee for the largest animal that walks the earth


Dear friends,

I am a baby elephant living in a camp made by human beings to rehabilitate orphaned ones like me, train and prepare me to be of use.

I can see questions in your eyes about how I became an orphan. Though I do not claim to remember all the details there are moments I recollect walking close to my mother’s feet, drinking the sweet milk and of course crossing the cold river with my aunts and other babies. From the stories being told each time someone visits me in my pen, I know that my mother died when I was small and I was found wandering crying loud in search of her. \

Of course the next question is shining in your eyes : How did my mother die? One evening we were crossing a small village in the middle of the forest down to the river to drink water,bathe and play in coolness. There was a long stretch of land that was demarcated by a fence  electrified to ward off wild animals. My mother in a hurry to reach the river rammed into the fence and died a death that must have shocked not only the rest of the herd but the humans living in the houses nearby. In the racous and clamour of both my aunts and the humans I lost touch with the herd and became alone. Before I knew it I was trapped and brought here to the camp. I understand that some humans set electric fences not just to ward off wild animals but also enjoy the meat of smaller mammals that may get accidentally trapped .  I miss the little that I remember about my elephant life, the long walks, the care and security of the herd, the foster mothers I had. Life is now all about learning to obey my trainers, avoid getting beaten and scolded by them and also controlling my wander lust.

With me there is another young elephant who is few years elder to me . His story is even more tragic. His mother and herd were at the edge of a fragrant pineapple field beyond which was the elephant trail that they have been crossing for years. The smell of freshly cut pineapple was too tempting and the mother elephant chanced upon one that she could not resist biting into. The next sound that he and his herd heard was a loud explosion and the sight of the female elephant running with a loud cry , her mouth and jaw lacerated and bleeding. The human farmers had put a small but powerful explosive inside the pineapple to teach the “ marauding herd”a lesson ( as we are often referred to) The mother stayed with the herd for a few days , crying and moaning in pain. Finally she started her lonely journey to death with the small baby following. Within a few days she died with the pain and trauma of the infection at its peak. Thus this smart young elephant baby also became an orphan with his destiny to be a trained elephant decided finally.


Just the other day we heard our mahouts recite the incident in which a 20 year old elephant and calf walking through the forest path crossed a railway track. The mother elephant was hit by a train passing through at high speed and thrown off the path. She died immediately. The young one in a state of shock and fear has not been traced still. The mahouts assume that he / she must either be wandering in the forests or must have succumbed to injuries sustained.

I am also able to understand that though there are many humans who hate us and want us wiped off the face of the Earth, there are as many who are compassionate and know that human and animals have to coexist. I know of many adivasi ( tribal ) villages where we are venerated as Raja. The story of Peelandi an elephant that was creating havoc in a tribal village in Kerala was missed so badly when caught and taken to a training camp that the children of the village requested the concerned authorities to take them to see him (.https://countercurrents.org/2017/10/a-grand-animal-and-its-rights/). They carried bananas and coconuts to feed him. I know of many tribal farmers who believe that the breath of elephants on their crop will increase production and yield.

After all it is a question of attitude.

My mahout tells loud in a state of inebriation that a campaign has started across Kerala by people who love elephants and believe we have the right to exist. The humans are coming together writing postcards to the Railway Minister. The small children participating in this Save the Elephant campaign are dipping their palms in paint and making imprints on cloth to show they too care.

Can I request you to also join this small attempt to make sure we do not get wiped out, we do not become orphans?

I know that we do not at all want to maraud human land and crops. But if human make tasty food in the path that elephants have trodden for years, how can we not eat it?

Our footprints are heavy and strong – so we cannot but trample and destroy crops placed in our path.


Please write to the concerned authorities who have to sit together and come up with solutions that will enable human and wild animal /Nature coexistence and not increase conflict .

Hoping  we can live together sharing all the bounties and beauties of Mother Earth

Baby elephant

Written by Anitha.S , part of the campaign in Thiruvananthapuram for the safety of Elephant herds who cross the Walayar tract ( Palakkad district in Kerala).


Please write postcards to Railway Ministry  Government of India requesting to look into the issue of elephant deaths in Walayar and come up with a technical solution. The immediate one would be to decrease the speed of the trains to 30 km/hr in the 12-15 km stretch of the track where maximum elephant deaths have occurred .

Ministry of Railways

Rail Bhavan

Raisina Bhavan

New Delhi-110001

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