Day 33; Chitwan National Park, Nepal


Today our day was rather light. We started with breakfast, and then had some time to lounge in our room until we walked over to the elephant enclosure and had our lesson on Indian Elephants. All very fascinating.

We learned ting like: elephants need 300 KG of grass and 200 Litres of water per day, plus 20-50 pieces of “elephant candy”. ( this is a mixture of rice or wheat plus molasses plus other goodies to boost the elephant’s nutrition). Elephants don’t see very well, and what they do see is magnified. The old fable of an elephant being frightened of a mouse has a good basis we found out!

Also, Indian elephants are trainable, unlike the African Elephants. There are only a few in the wild in Chitwan, probably around 100. There is an elephant breeding centre run by the government that breed elephants for the naturalists and army to patrol the park and keep it safe from poachers. The height plus the nature of the beast make it non threatening to the indigenous wild animals, while giving the rangers a good height from which to scout for marauders!

Dan feeding elephant candy to the elephant. This was the one we rode a couple of days previously. She seems delighted with the treat! Even though you see what looks like a tusk, this female has actually grown an extended tooth.
My turn feeding the candy to the other elephant.
Loving her treat!
The trainer or Marouc is with his elephant for her life. They get to know each other very very well. Here, she used her trunk to give him a lift onto her back so they could demonstrate how they measure their height. (2 times the circumference of their foot print!)

Once we finished with our talk, I handed out some Canadian flag pins to the children who were gathered and well as their families. Lots of fun, and very enlightening!

Back at the lodge we had our lunch and then a short break before we headed to the lobby to meet our naturalists for our jungle walk.

Some British tourists getting to “bathe” the elephants. Once their turn was finished, the trainer would instruct the animal to turn onto it’s side, dumping it’s passengers into the river!
I wonder if we saw the marsh mugger croc sunning itself on the shore of the little island only 50 m away??
They all know what’s coming and they still look surprised!

This one was on the border lands to the park and the primary purpose was to bird watch. We saw many many birds, and then we started to get into the deeper jungle. There we saw some Sambar Deer. And then low and behold, a rhinoceros had spotted us about the same time we saw him. His ears were very alert and his head was pointed our way. You know its close when the guide tells you to keep your eye on a large tree to hide behind! Rhinos have an acute sense of smell as well as hearing, but their eyesight is not great. We didn’t dare get closer because this boy was in attack mode. We made a wide arch and came out by the river. We followed that all the way back to the hotel.

Lesser Adjutant Stork up in a tree.
Village alongside our walk.
A Rhino has spotted us, and it is on full alert!
Those wing like things in high in the tree branches are actually beehives!

Once back at the hotel, we cleared off the dust of the road and headed over to the outdoor deck for happy hour. Tonight’s entertainment was another cultural dance, and we decided to stay put and just enjoy the sounds of the river and the jungle around us.

Just lovely to see the sunset one last time as we enjoyed our drinks on the patio!

It was soon time for dinner, and then back to our room for organizing our gear. Tomorrow we drive to Pokhara, our last stop on our adventure! Until then!

Categories: Himalayas: India, Nepal and Bhutan 2019

2 comments

  1. Not sure I would be happy about being dumped into water that is inhabited by huge crocodiles! But the elephants are the most amazing animals! And to be so up close and personal with them is a wonder!

    Like

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