Beast of Bardia
Recently I came across a couple of pictures (see pics below) from the archive of the Maharaja of one of the Eastern princely states of Colonial India. It featured two huge elephants and interestingly, they were captioned as "Nepali Fighting Elephant." Both were hulking beast, unlike any elephants that I have ever seen, made distinctive from the Asian and African species by the presence of massive double dome head and its gigantic mammoth like structure. Suitably impressed I decided to look it up on the net and found that the pictures that I had found were those of a forgotten sub species that were highly soughted by kings and princes and subsequently rediscovered by Blashford-snell et al. Anyway check it out and let me know what you think.
"Blashford-Snell, one of the 20th century's most colourful explorers, had first heard rumours of a mammoth-like bull elephant running riot in Bardia, a region of western Nepal, in 1987. Determined to get to the truth behind the legend, he collected evidence of footprints and rare sightings, and listened to tales of death and destruction.
The beast, then aged in its mid-forties, was seen only at night when it emerged from the forest to feed on village gardens and smash down the heavy mud walls of houses. It had probably been responsible for the deaths of several Nepalese villagers through trampling.
Blashford-Snell listened to tales about the elephant's massive domed head and tusks and heard claims that it was a direct descendant of the extinct woolly mammoth, one of an aggressive sub-species that had genetically evolved in the Nepalese jungle.
Blashford-Snell was certainly the man for the job. Born in Jersey in 1936, he spent 37 years in the Army. Now 73, he has organised and led more than 100 expeditions to the frontiers of the world. Still an imposing, lean figure, Blashford-Snell has never lost his appetite for adventure.
As a Royal Engineer in 1968 he made the first ever descent of the Blue Nile from its source, Lake Tana in Ethiopia, to the Sudanese border. 'People thought we were mad when we said we would go down the rapids in rubber boats, he said. 'But it worked. This was the inspiration for white-water rafting as we know it today.
Picture of Bardian elephant
In 1974/5 he navigated almost all of the 2,700 miles of the Congo. He also established the youth charity now known as Raleigh International, running volunteer projects and global expeditions. In 2000 he managed to take a grand piano through the jungle to the musical Wai Wai tribe in Guyana.
Video of Bardian Elephant.
Blashford-Snell first tracked down two of the giant Nepalese elephants on an expedition to the Bardia National Park in Nepal in 1992. The SES party estimated the height of the larger bull to be 11ft 3in at the shoulder, its weight close to eight tons, its tusks more than 7ft long. They named it Raja Gaj, King Elephant." excerpt from The domes of wisdom : Tetrapod Zoology
"Later a second large bull elephant was discovered who behaved in a similar way and once gave a demonstration of his strength by charging a tree and knocking it down. Like all men, just showing off said Dr Tessa Donovan-Beermann who was helping JBS to control the search with a Motorola walkie-talkie radio." ref. Nepal 2010 - John Blashford-Snell
for further reading:
- New Page 7
- Travel: Nepal - Homage to the tusker king - Travel - The Independent
- Blather: Mammoth Hunt: The Giant Elephants of Nepal
Mammoth Hunt by John Blashford-Snell (Author)
Very interesting shadowring. Thanks for sharing.
Pretty impressive animals. Learn something new every day, Thanks for posting!
Crazy, never heard of them before. Thanks for sharing.
Thanks for the reply guys, it really is encouraging for a new member like me, makes all the editing and re-editing of the post worthwhile (still not very good with the pics). On a different note I am sure Mr. Blashford-Snell would be interested to know that his rediscovery had been documented in some obscure book :) and noted here in AfricaHunting.com.
Well, I ve learnt something new today, thank you shadowring !