Elephants (Elephas maximus)

The facebook

We hope we are not stealing anyone’s idea here with this title, but yes, it is a social network for animals.

It is a good idea to identify elephants. You may say: “impossible, they all look alike”. Actually not. We are just not used to looking at them. To recognize people, we first look at the eyes, then the mouth, the nose. With male elephants, you first look at the tusks. Even at night we can identify our regular visitors. Have a look at our regular visitors and see the differences.

Rivaldo is unfortunately too easy to identify. His trunk is cut by a good 40 cm. His tusks are straight and symmetrical. He is our hero, benign and maybe not too intelligent to put his nose where he should not have. The picture is taken 10 meters away, Rivaldo is a gentle guy. However, basic precautions need to be taken.


Now, Ronaldo’s picture is courageously taken 40 m away. He is massive, bigger than Rivaldo and his presence sends chills down the spine. You have to make way. He has destroyed our dining room once. He is accused of murder in the area, but you know how it is: if you are tough and have a reputation, you are accused of everything. His reputation is certainly exaggerated. Ronaldo is easily identified by a lower right tusk. But don’t bother to memorize. If you see him close, you will not forget.


Leonardo has long and curved tusks. He is very attentive with what he does. He systematically break trees and bamboos with exquisite ability, hence his name from Leonardo Da Vinci. He is reserved, but can traverse the open space between our kitchen and dining room if he decides to and sometimes enters the dining hall and helps himself to all our vegetables. He drinks water without wasting a drop which indicates excellent table manners if we excuse the stealing. He is a gentlephant.


Benito looks very much like Rivaldo. He is younger and smaller. Here Benito injured his left foot and he suffers as can be seen on his face. We have not seen him for a long time and hope he is doing well. Benito is gentle and shy. He is always with his younger friend Kaka.

The constant companion of Benito, Kaka lives in the shadow of his friend. He has small tusks, curved and inward. If he sees people, he can disappear at high speed or, for some reason, decide to charge. Some of the staff of the Forest Department were visiting us when he decided to charge. We have never seen faster Government servants.[/column]

Now Zidane has no tusk, like the real Zidane who has no hair. In spite of his handicap, he is an enthusiastic football player and managed to frighten Leonardo whose tusks are weapons of mass destruction. Try to understand this.


See, how easy it is to identify elephants. We will put more here for your pleasure and your training as wildlife experts. Next time you come to a national park, you will notice the elephant features and know they come with very different personalities.

Zidane forever

Let’s start with football. In this 3 min. 54 s. video, Zidane is filmed playing like mad (for an elephant), with a tyre. We put football “TV” comments to make it funny but when Shanti Puyravaud the person behind this video, filmed, she could not help giggling. At 2 mins. 30 s., Zidane is on the ground! Notice that the elephant are not disturbed by people. There is no noise except that of birds and of course Shanti’s laughter. It is impossible to get these exquisite moments if animals are disturbed. Author: Shanti Puyravaud.

 Why wild elephants should not be fed

This 2 min. 54 s. video shows an injured Rivaldo being treated and fed by Nigel Otter, Worldwide Veterinary Services and the Tamil Nadu Forest Department. Rivaldo was fed with fruits for years out of “generosity”. Then this practice became a source of entertainment for tourists who started feeding the elephant. Rivaldo got habituated to humans and probably, one day, put his trunk in someone’s window or verandah, and a frightened human cut his trunk with a machete. Rivaldo almost lost his life and it is a miracle he survived thanks to antibiotics and people who looked after him for months. Feeding wild animal is forbidden. You can realize why: it hurts and sometimes kills them.

No swim for baby

This 1 min. 10 s video shows a group females with babies. A female is having an enjoyable time in the Sigur River during the monsoon. A baby tries to go to the water, but for some reason, another female, maybe the mother, judges that the river is not safe. She pushes the baby away repetitively. Elephant females are very protective of babies and give constant attention days and nights.

Jungle siesta

In this 2 mins. 29 s. video, Kaka takes a nap while Benito continues eating in the vicinity. We don’t show the entire siesta! Remember, if you walk in the jungle sometimes and you see a moving rock, it may be an elephant waking up. The best would be not to step on it! Author: Shanti Puyravaud.