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Elephant Whisperer: Uttar Pradesh forest officials have never heard of it

Forest officials in Uttar Pradesh who have been grappling with the problem of two wild tuskers wandering in the western part of the state have not even heard of the technique of elephant whisperers that can tame these wild giants.

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Lucknow Published on: July 23, 2019 11:54 IST
Elephant Whisperer: Uttar Pradesh forest officials have
Image Source : PTI

Elephant Whisperer: Uttar Pradesh forest officials have never heard of it

Forest officials in Uttar Pradesh who have been grappling with the problem of two wild tuskers wandering in the western part of the state have not even heard of the technique of elephant whisperers that can tame these wild giants.

"The Elephant Whisperer" a famous book by South African conservationist Lawrence Anthony gives a heartwarming account of taming a herd of wild elephants.

The bestseller, published in 2009, talks about the time when Lawrence Anthony was asked to accept a herd of 'rogue' elephants on his Thula Thula game reserve in South Africa.

Anthony initially refused but then he realized that his refusal could mean the death of the elephants.

He agreed, but before arrangements for the move could be completed the animals broke out again and the matriarch and her baby were shot.

The remaining elephants were traumatised, dangerous, and very angry. As soon as they arrived at Thula Thula they started planning their escape. 

As Lawrence battled to create a bond with the elephants and save them from execution, he came to realize that they had a lot to teach him about life, loyalty and freedom.

Every day the new matriarch would plan to bring down the perimeter and escape. But right when she would approach with the herd for the escapade, Lawrence would stand guard outside the perimeters keeping a constant vigil.

Every night the matriarch would meet the eyes of this man pleading for her to understand that death was certain if she took the herd out, as it was made clear that the rogue would not be spared if they escaped Thula Thula.

Hunters with rifles circled the park waiting for the big game.

After months of this emotional stand-off between Lawrence and the matriarch, finally, at dawn, she reaches out across the perimeter and touched Lawrence with her trunk, finally giving in to his appeal.

Set against the background of life on the reserve, with unforgettable characters and exotic wildlife, this delightful book tells us that even the wildest elephants can be tamed. 

Lawrence gradually tamed the tuskers and they began to respond to his love. When Anthony died, the elephants went to his house, mourned and returned to their enclosure.

Top forest officials in Uttar Pradesh have not even heard of Anthony's experiences.

"These elephants are too dangerous and we cannot take the risk of experimenting with them. Even the most-trained mahouts have refused to help us with these tuskers that have already killed five persons," said a senior official from the forest service.

"Fact is different from fiction. I have not heard about 'Elephant Whisperer' but it seems like a fairy tale. We cannot risk lives, in this case, trying to emulate the elephant whisperer formula."

Meanwhile, the 40-year-old wild tusker that entered Pilibhit Tiger Reserve (PTR) was spotted in a sugarcane field at Majara village under Puranpur tehsil on Monday.

A team of trained elephant trackers called from West Bengal traced the jumbo footprints over 7km and spotted it in a sugarcane field in the Majara village.

Field Director of PTR, H. Rajamohan, said that tusker was expected to move towards Nepal in a day or two.

Also Read | Wild tuskers continue to roam in UP, forest staff on alert

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Also Read | Tusker 'brothers' released in Pilibhit Tiger Reserve

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