Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Elephant Tears

Found only in Borneo, the Borneo Pygmy Elephants (Elephas maximus borneensis ) are smaller and less aggressive than other Asian elephants. These elephants show a high level of tolerance to humans being in close quarters! I was less than 3 meters away when watching them feeding on the bay of Kinabatangan River. They have rounder faces, larger ears, and longer tail.
The primary threat to these elephants is the loss of habitat. The conversion of forest into plantations, logging activities & urbanization has increased the fragmentation of their feeding area. Contact with human has become more frequent when the elephants travel from one area to another.
According to the locals, the elephants have splited into 2 to 3 smaller groups and will get reunited once a year into big herds. They will spend some times together before breaking up again. Perhaps this is how the elephants adjust themselves to ensure food sustainability and yet remain bonded when they meet annually.

I have just too many questions about them unanswered! I wonder if there is any exchange of group members to maintain the male-female ratio due to attrition after the great annual party! They are believes to be able to remember (by smell) their enemies (those who have hurt them before) for life! How do they achieve that?

Whenever their enemy is nearby, they will show sign of aggresiveness & trumpeting non-stop to warn other elephants. There is so much to learn about this little & gentle giant!
Until someone really study them, these mysteries will remain unknown!

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