Spotlight India: Pre-monsoon showers come like the festival bonus for little elephants

Little Nunai the elephant at the IFAW CWRC in India.When the spring comes, the rains are not far behind. Yes, this is the season of pre- monsoon in Northeast India. Kaziranga experienced the first pre-monsoon showers of the year today.

The value of these unexpected showers is very high compared to the regular monsoon. Just like the festival bonus one gets only to spend it hastily. Such odd amounts of money or rain, don’t last long.

But never the less everyone in the rescue centre is taking full advantage of the sudden change of weather.  The elephants are playing with mud; the rhinos are busy eating the sprouting grass in the meadow, a flock of ducks playing hide-and-seek in the pond.  As the cloudburst washed away the dust from the leaf making it lush green, the capped langurs were feasting on it and the fresh berries.

With the advent of the sudden rain the entire atmosphere in Kaziranga unfolded its glory and the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) Wildlife Rescue Center was no exception.  Every single species of animals in the center looked more playful and vigorous. Among all, our little elephants seemed the happiest. They were just having a good time playing in the rain.

“While Dev and Rani play in the mud, Nunai would wait and watch,” said Bhadreshwar Das, the keeper. “Nunai is very careful in her moves,” he added.

“Nunai’s wounds have healed completely and she is growing into a gentle elephant unlike Dev and Rani who are always up to some mischief,” said Dr. Abhijit Bhawal, whose relentless treatment and care nursed the calf back to health.

Nunai being the smallest of all is still bullied by Dev and Rani at certain times. She always quietly follows the herd and generally shies away from humans. But when she becomes hungry, she is the loudest and throws temper-tantrums until she gets her meal. She trumpets loudly and persistently till the food is offered. After she finishes her milk, she cools down and remains calm and quiet.

Nunai along with Dev and Rani spend the night inside the enclosures. At morning, the keepers take them out for regular walks in the forest.

I don’t know what tomorrow brings. I still hope it rains tomorrow and I get an opportunity to spend some quality time with these cute little elephants.

-- SB

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Céline Sissler-Bienvenu, Director, France and Francophone Africa
Director, France and Francophone Africa
Faye Cuevas, Esq.
Senior Vice President
Grace Ge Gabriel, Regional Director, Asia
Regional Director, Asia
James Isiche, Regional Director, East Africa
Regional Director, East Africa
Jason Bell, Vice President for Conservation and Animal Welfare
Vice President for Conservation and Animal Welfare
Matt Collis, Director, International Policy
Director, International Policy
Vivek Menon, Director of IFAW partner, Wildlife Trust of India
Consulting Senior Advisor to the CEO on Strategic Partnerships & Philanthropy