Master elephant, cont…d

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I was lucky enough to “meet” elephants at a very young age. And see many through my childhood and teens. Above: elephant orphanage, Conakry, Guinea, West Africa, c.1960. R. to l. Three baby elephants, orphaned after their mother was killed by a poacher, yours truly (with white socks if you please), my mother, and little sister, not keen on elephants. (Some photos have already been posted)

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Tsavo national park, Kenya, c.1968. When an elephant appears to be intent on crossing the “road”, it has right of way. Stop the car. But keep the engine running.


Pre-Rup temple, Angkor, Cambodia, this past January. Built around 961 AD, a thousand years ago, the temple is guarded by sacred elephants at each corner of the terrace.


Detail. Note the necklace. Possibly a flower garland.


Colombian elephant. Bogotá, 2016. A Colombian elephant is easily recognizable by its green, emerald colour. Pink elephants? Delirium tremens. Go see your Doctor.


Indian elephant at a purdah. This magnificent painting was bought by my father in Delhi, early 70’s. Now on daughter #1’s wall. 🙂


Wild elephants near a village, Rwanda, 1971. The coexistence of wildlife and expanding human settlements is an increasing problem as I have mentioned before. Those elephants are likely to destroy the villager’s corn crop. And be shot. My dear friend Tish Farrel, who has lived in Kenya too, just mentioned to me that some NGO’s are putting bee-hives around the fields, so that elephants get stung by bees, and stay away. Plus the villagers get the honey. A splendid idea! Visit Tish’s blog at:


Asian elephant, Vincennes zoo, c.1971-1972.


Street elephant, Paris, 2018. (Or is it a scorpion-elephant?)


A Ceylon elephant. Bought by my parents in Sri Lanka (as they call it now) in Colombo, 1952. Even the toe-nails were ivory. Alas! Many have fallen and disappeared year after year. I had to replace them with carved wood.


Speaking of carved wood: Singapore zoo, 2017.


At the lodge, in Murchison Falls, Uganda, 1968, before setting off to to the sources of the Nile. A young elephant had grown used to roam near the bungalows of the safari lodge. And walk past the terrace where a few tourists and I were taking breakfast. At one point, one the tourists got too close to take a better picture…

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The young elephant (not so small from this angle, right?) grabbed the yellow chair with its trunk and flung it at the tourist… (I’ve told that story before, I know). 🙂

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I thought I might end this post on a cute picture… Above. Alas, after a quick search, it seems to be an April’s Fool Photoshop “montage” by the Kruger Park, in South Africa. 🙂 Well, doesn’t matter. It may have happened in another universe.

African elephant population at the beginning of the 20th century was about 3 to 5  million, down to 415,000 today. (Source: WWF). Asian elephant figures were 100,000 down to 40-50,000.


Current African elephant range. (Source: WWF). Imagine a time when practically all sub-Sahara Africa was “green”. A few countries in Africa are doing tremendous efforts for wildlife preservation (Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania, Botswana, to name a few) But more needs to be done.




75 thoughts on “Master elephant, cont…d

    • Glad to share them. It is strange to me how my blow has evolved from my original objective to what I now post. 🙂
      But it’s fun, and since you and others seem to enjoy it, so be it. Take care, and have a great week-end.

  1. Such a wonderful experience Brian. I love elephants, i hope they can be protected, people must stop buying ivory, in fact I should be banned. Thanks for sharing this great post and photo’s.

    • Pleasure, Coeur de Feu. I remember your mentioning your love of elephants. They are splendid creatures. Ivory has been bad. End of the 80’s I think, but poachers are still on the prowl. I saw ads in Canton airport in China warning against ivory buying, but it’s like Rhino horns… I often thought the only solution would be to sedate all elephants, cut their tusks, and release them… That would curb poaching.

  2. I will be sure to show this one to Colin on my phone so he can enjoy the second post on Elephants! I would so love to see those carved Elephants in Cambodia some day! I have seen a lot of things carved like snakes, birds, cats,and gargoyles, etc but never an elephant that I can recall. After looking at all of your photos it is surely hard to see the one locked up in the zoo, isn’t it? Cheers!

  3. Pingback: Master elephant, cont…d — Equinoxio |

  4. I saw a documentary with a Masai farmer (?) using a condom filled with chilli and a firecracker. As soon as an elephant arrived and was threatening homes and crops they’d fire the condom with firecracker on: the firecracker would blow the condom, chillies will be deployed and the elephant would go. Not as elegant as the great idea of the beehive though!

  5. ah, the beauty and immense scale of these amazing creatures. Always a joy to see your archives, art and of course even the lion being carried made me do a double take….bless the beasts, as always, K

  6. I spotted an elephant in Berlin the other day while on a bus, if I can remember where to find it, and it hasn’t been chased off by the locals, I’ll post a photo. Hope all’s well Brian?

  7. Lol the photoshop got me at first as did the statue. I fear for the future! I’m losing my touch Reginald!
    Did you pet the heffalumps White Sox? What did they feel like you lucky bean?

      • Happy New Year Archibald! Ha! I’ve taught you your first cheeky Britishsm for 2019 already!…Oh and take those glasses off when you are addressing me before high tea. *Fans herself furiously then faints.* 😀

      • Sadly dear Archibald, yes. Heffalump shifting was one of the first things to be hit. Why do you think there has been such a fuss about Brexit. No one would care otherwise.
        We live in sad times. *Sniff!*

      • Please do, your assistance may go some way to remove the logjam of sheer self interest and mind boggling incompetence, although I’m not betting on it.

      • Like those folks at the Nissan factory (sunderland is it?). The town voted for Brexit. Now Nissan is pulling out models to build in Japan. Too much uncertainty according to the managers… Tsss.

      • Yes, but I heard that Brexit is now becoming the cover for firms to do what they would prefer to do anyway so I couldn’t say. I heard that it was possibly more to do with the declining use of diesel that prompted this move, but out of sheer utter boredom and equal parts disgust of the whole thing I didn’t read behind the headline.
        Do you know more about it Richmal?

      • I don’t know more. It is so stupid, someone is probably getting ready to make the big bucks. Or Pounds. Maybe UK’s ambition is to become a large Isle of Man?

      • Oh doubtless that a small few pushing for this will rake it in. Have you noticed they are incompetent at pretty much everything except the determination to make it happen?

  8. How lucky you were to have grown up around elephants. And beehives! What a win-win solution. I believe there are many ways to coexist with nature if we’re simply a bit creative and don’t immediately resort to violence. 🙂

    • A Scot acquaintance once told me “the main prroblem in the worrld now is grreed.” He was r(r)ight. Elephants, lions, rhinos et al, are being slaughtered for money. Plain and simple. Even the simple reintroduction of wolves in France (about 250 now) is causing havoc among sheperds. Though they are paid a hefty sum for any sheep (allegedly) killed by a wolf, they bitch all the time… Tsss.
      Hope all is well with you.

      • Your Scot acquaintance was half right: greed has been a longstanding problem ever since man has been brought to Earth through genetical engineering. More proof that the creator was also flawed.

        I’ve seen first photo already, lil sis beig afraid and all that. Any more proof that man and woman are not quite equal, despite feminists and all that? Darn, I’m getting into big issues and I don’t want that fight. 🙂

        How can we make peace with each-other AND with wild beasts too? That’s the heaviest question of all.

      • Welcome back to the blogosphere my dear Dragos! Lovely to have you around! Yes, you have a keen eye: that first photo has already been posted. 😉
        No fight. 🙂 Question will remain open.
        Now peace? A tougher even question. Or should I say “survival”. Take care my friend.
        A bientôt.

  9. That first photo is so cute. Love the socks. 🙂Quite a collection of elephant images here. I’ve been lucky to see wild elephants in Thailand (many years ago) and Namibia. Keep the car running indeed.

    • I see you’ve spiked my stats. 🙂 Glad you enjoyed the tours…
      I remember your Namibia post. Must be impressive in Asia too.
      That first photo is a great memory. I wish I had been a bit older to insist with grownups to touch the elephants. One was quite small.
      (And I still wear clear socks from time to time!)
      Be good.
      A bientôt Julie

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