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Mike Larder | profile | all galleries >> Galleries >> ElefantAsia-Walking with Elephants-Laos tree view | thumbnails | slideshow

ElefantAsia-Walking with Elephants-Laos

...There is no sound, save the rhythmic bells and periodic rasping crash as one of the critters snacks on a passing tree. Elephants for all their misshapen bulk have a ballerina’s ability to move in virtual silence.

Elephants feet are an engineering masterpiece. So well balanced and shock absorbed a 5 tonne elephant walks with a barely audible step. They cling to steep, craggy terrain with limpet like tenacity or step daintily from rock to rock while negotiating briskly flowing rivers.

The Tupper wear grey sky above, occasionally brightened by a watery sun, is starkly empty of wild birds and their song. No trees, no food, no nests, no eggs, no birds.

Our tiring troupe plods into several acres of barren paddy field adjacent to a shallow stream. The weary elephants are swiftly unloaded and led to the creek for their essential evening bath. Our staff moves into a nearby stilted hut. They obligingly erect a couple of snug tents for us. The two women have a fire smoldering with our evening rice steaming over the coals. There is much falsetto tooting and raucous trumpets drifting over from the creek. Down on bended knees wallowing in the swiftly running creek, their mahout are scampering about dousing their partners. The elephants playfully retaliate, sucking up the crystal clear creek water and hosing down their mahout with a high pressure deluge.
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