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!
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.
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.
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.
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!