Elephants at Eravikulam National Park
Elephants are an inevitable part of the native culture and the rich fauna of Kerala state. The Indian elephant which is classified scientifically under the name elephas maximus indicus, is one of the four subspecies of Asian elephant. They are of the Elephantidae family under the Mammalia class. Elephants are titled in Kerala as the state animal and treated with much respect and wonder.
The wild Indian elephants live in scrub-forested lands which contains open space and grasslands. They are of nomadic nature and they tend to migrate from one habitat to another. They are highly social animals, living in herds, keeping strong bonds with one another. The leader is usually a senior female. Tuskers, as soon as they come of age, keep away from herds except at the time of mating.
Elephants spend a lot of time foraging – as a matter of fact, three-fourth of their entire lifetime is spent on feeding. They do not chew the cud like deer and gaur; instead they eat it slowly, chewing it even as we do. As they go about their business of feeding, one can see their enormous ears flapping constantly. This is to bring down their body temperature. In less than twenty minutes the entire blood in an elephant’s body passes through the veins of its ears.
An Indian elephant usually is 6.4 meters tall. Unlike other mammals, the long trunk, which is a combination of upper lip and nose, is an attraction of elephants. The male elephant can be identified by the superior height and tusks which are absent in most females.
In Kerala, the Indian elephants are domesticated by humans and used for temple festivals and tedious jobs in which physical strength is necessary, like hauling logs. Here, the main places for the domestication of captive elephants are Muthanga in Wayanad district, Konni in Pathanamthitta district and Kodanad in Ernakulam district.
In this video, the elephants shown are the inhabitants of the Eravikulam National Park, a protected area in Idukki district, the famous home to the endangered species Nilgiri Tahrs and the rare flora Neelakurinji flowers. The Eravikulam National Park is home to a wide variety of flora and fauna.