Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Waiter, There's An Elephant In My Tea!

Of the herd of elephants that entered Moraghat Tea Estate on Monday night, seven hung around till Tuesday morning, and ended up staying all day. They had moved from the inhabited parts of the garden to the NG Division, which borders the National Highway and the broad gauge railway line.

This made it easy for passersby on the highway to stop and stare, and also made it impossible for the elephants to get out from the tea area and head back to the forest!

Three adults and four calves - they stood in this formation almost all day.

When they got agitated, one of them would charge ahead!

Elephants can cause a lot of damage, and these boys were doing their best to drive them away. It isn't good to be in the path of an elephant when it runs towards you. It can race along at 60km an hour.

Our garden's boys dont fear elephants - they're charging at them to frighten them away.

We went as close as we dared (about 100 feet) to take these pictures. One of the big guys started off in our direction, and we ran into the vehicle, then raced off - under the branches of a tree that you know who had knocked down.

Racing away

By late afternoon, people were arriving in hired cars to stand and stare.
Our visitors went away only after nightfall. Today Mohan looks glum - the damage they did will cost the garden a few lakhs of rupees!



All so exciting for us who don't have to bear the brunt of it.The loss to the tea estate, on top of the rainless season, makes us ponder.

Arti said...

Just read a news story about a Dutch tourist getting crushed by an elephant at Kaziranga. Glad no one got hurt at your garden. That would have really been a big tragedy.

flowergirl said...

Its very sobering Gardenia. Like Arti, I also read the story of the death in Kaziranga...

I really do feel that elephants all over India are growing angrier and angrier as we squeeze them into smaller sanctuaries.

I'm glad your account had a reasonable ending!

Viji said...

Oh those poor things ! Gowri I don't know what makes me sadder - the poor elephants' plight or the losses in the Garden .

kallu said...

Gowri, Just loved your title :-))))

Anonymous said...

Dear Gowri,

I have been eagerly reading your posts for a very long time. I have always loved them dearly. You write so well!

I am conservation minded, and feel sad at the plight of both people and the elephants.

I wonder if the WB and the central government with the help of international conservation funds be willing to buy out any large tracts of lands (like some failed tea estates in 2002 or so) and set them aside for the wild life.

May be once the animals have a bit more room of their own, they may be little less prone to invading the populated areas. I full darn well understand that it is not all that simple.

No matter what, I think that the government (I mean the people), should own more land in dooars than private parties. Many land conservation efforts in US started this way. Many private organizations in US continue to buy out important tracts of land for the wild-life wherever and whenever they can.

With your god gifted talent to write, I wonder if you will be the spokes person for the native flora and fauna of dooars (whose habitat is shrinking alarmingly by the day), and their right to exist!

Not asking you to turn this blog into a political forum, but just to keep the discussion of the importance of Public land (accessible to both the wild life and recreation minded citizens) alive!

As always a big fan of yours!

A desi from Seattle, US

Kamini said...

What an experience! Has this happened before, the elephants coming into your territory?
Once again, you have brought for us alive a whole other world.

Denise said...

I am so glad I discovered your blog and I have enjoyed reading your posts. I am so sorry for the damage the elephants caused you but I can't help but love the elephant. I just wish you didn't suffer so much damage.

Maddy said...

It must have been a hair raising experience..hope you still balanced the tea cup and not spill a drop on ur clothes!!

I was reading the other pachyderm experience in Abe Tharakan's blog..and Raji's comment led me here..

T and S said...

Raji pointed me in the direction of this post and I m thankful to her for that.

I go around the sanctuaries of karnataka to photograph wildlife and here you have everytime happening in your own backyard. WOW.

My encounters are however not anywhere close to being as expensive as yours.

Going by your pictures you have a beautiful tea estate, do you folks do homestays too, I would love to visit...Thomas