|We were recently in Mumbai, India and came across a wonderful magazine, EAT STAY LOVE, in which I found a great article about swimming elephants. The author then connected with Deepali Nanwani, the Editor-In-Chief who offered to permit The Elephant Story to utilize the images and the concepts of the article. Deepali was intrigued by the Black Ivory coffee shown on our website and the author agreed to write an article for him. Any excuse possible to plug the elephant cause and we are there.
Some years back, local loggers began to use elephants to log the islands on the Indian side of the Andaman Sea. The islands had desirable timber but there was no effective way to harvest it.
Elephants could move the massive logs but the loggers were faced with the logistical challenge of moving the elephants from one island to another. The answer was simple-teach them to swim.
At times scuba divers have had the opportunity to dive with Rajan the elephant. However, can you imagine a hapless, bystander scuba diver looking up and seeing an elephant swim overhead. As a former scuba diver in Southeast Asia, the author would have suddenly adopted "Stop, Drop, Blow and Go" for an emergency ascent.
The logging operations have long since ceased and, Rajan, the last remaining swimming elephant recently passed away at age 66. Nonetheless, what a wonderful retirement he had swimming with a few guests to the islands rather than being relegated to the ignoble task of walking the endless streets of India to make appearances at weddings and birthday parties.