It may not be a bed time story in these parts of the world.But definitely the topic comes up once in a while.A photo is published in one of the local news papers and the discussion starts all over again.But it seems nobody is certain about its presence in the forests adjoining the district of Trivandrum,the state capital of Kerala.
Yes,we are talking about the fascinating idea about the presence of "Pygmy" elephants in the jungles of southern Kerala.The pygmy elephants are dwarf elephants shorter than the normal ones,standing at around 5ft approx.They have longer tails which they drag while walking.They got wider ears and straight tusks and looks bulky.
These are some of the characteristics of pygmy elephants.But are there pgymy elephants in the forests here?Well nobody is sure and one answer which dominates is a strong "NO".
Then whats the fuss is all about?Why is that the discussion pops up once in a while, if not one of the pygmy elephants, which are supposed to be roaming the Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary.
The fact is, a few tribals(Kani) living in the Agstyamalai Biosphere reserve believes in the eixistence of the lowly pygmy elephant.They vouch for its presence and speak vehemently that they see them once in a while.There is one particular photographer from Palode who gets pictures of these animals and get it punlished in the newspapers.
The irony is that nobody else is getting the pictures!
The cycle of publishing of such a picture and the heated discussions are taking the round here in Trivandrum,if not in other places.About 10 days ago a picture of a "pygmy" elephant was published and the debate restarted and continues till date.
The Forest Department officials came to the scene and said that it was only a sub-adult "normal" elephant.They also said that they would do the gentical analysis if they could get a blood sample.
The officials were in for a surprise as the photographed "pygmy" was found in the forests of Peppars in a bad condition.It was found unable to move and eat and because of that discarded by its herd.The forest department didint waste much time and tethered the elephant and started rehabilitatating the animal.
The animal is doing well now and the Forest can take blood samples.But wait a minute,as expected the elephant was not a Pygmy but a normal sub adult wild elephant.No blood samples required!
The story of this particular episode of "Pgymy" elephants of Trivandrum may come to an end with people convinced that they dont exist.
But Iam sure another picture in a few months(or years) time will definitely apper in the news papers!
Personally I have trekked the Agastyamalai Biosphere Reserve several times and at least onece only in search of the pygmy, resulted in disappointing outcomes.There may not be any pygmy elephants here.But some believe.
Please click on the following links to read more about the pygmy......