“Watching the world’s last ocean swimming elephant is a real delight” posted to sploid.gizmodo.com by James Baker
This video (scroll down for videos) features the remarkable 64-year old Rajan, the world’s last ocean swimming elephant who lives on a beautiful archipelago in the Bay of Bengal.
Rajan, who weighs around four tons, once worked hard carrying lumber between islands but is now retired—although he still takes the occasional swim for fun.
It takes ten years to train a working, swimming elephant and it is no longer considered economically viable with the availability of modern transportation. However elephants are still valued workers and this was reflected in the $40,000 price that Rajan’s keepers paid for him.
They repaid this money through a variety of means including hiring him out on photo shoots to photographers.
Swimming With Elephant Andaman Islands, youtube video posted by Madhu Duggal
The following youtube video, “Ricky Gervais – Elephants Swimming” is absolutely hilarious!
The following excerpt and photos are taken from “Fetch your trunks – the only elephant in the world that loves going for a swim in the sea”… by Anna Edwards, published on dailymail.co.uk 12 June 2013…
The retired working animal is the only elephant in the world to swim in the sea, and loves to take a dip off the Andaman Islands, an archipelago that is part of India in the Bay of Bengal.
The Asian elephant is a retired working animal called Rajan and is the only elephant in the world to swim in the sea.
He was trained to swim to haul logs out to boats off the Islands, but when the practice was banned, enough money was raised to keep Rajan where he was in retirement.
His duties have been taken up by motor boats and now he just swims for fun and allows divers to have a dip with him.
Photographer Wolfgang Zwicknagl, from Austria said it was amazing what a good swimmer this huge animal is.
Wolfgang, 40, said: ‘We have been told that Rajan goes swimming in the sea just two or three times per month.
‘He is not forced to go into the water and if he doesn’t want to, then you dive alone.
Water baby! Now Rajan just swims for fun and allows divers to take a dip with him.The 64-year-old animal moves perfectly in the ocean and uses his trunk as a snorkel.
‘But when his Mahout brought him to the beach, he stood there for a minute, took a breath and walked into the ocean.
‘It is almost impossible to explain how amazed we were when he started the dive with us.
‘He moves perfectly in the ocean, using his trunk as a snorkel and moved much quicker than we expected, so taking photos was surprisingly exhausting.
‘The tips of his tusks have been cut slightly as he had some difficulties moving his trunk.’
Wolfgang added: ‘Rajan is a retired working elephant who enjoys his pension on the Andaman Islands.
‘While elephants love in a dip in the river, Rajan is the last and only one who swims in the ocean, as the painful education to do this is not allowed anymore.
Wolfgang Zwicknagl took the pictures in the Andaman Islands, an archipelago that is part of India in the bay of Bengal.
Splashing about: Despite their large frames, elephants are capable swimmers
‘Working elephants have been used at the Andamans for bringing logged trees to boats waiting in the sea and eventually to swim to the next island. This required a cruel education.
The 64-year-old animal, that weighs between three and four tons, was bought into freedom approximately five years ago.
He would have been sold to a temple in south India otherwise to continue his working elephant career.
Wolfgang said: ‘He was definitely less exhausted than us (after the dive).’
Despite their large frames, elephants are capable swimmers.
They have been recorded swimming for up to six hours without touching the bottom, and have travelled as far as 30 miles…
Wolfgang Zwicknagl said the tips of Raajan’s tusks have been cut slightly as he had some difficulties moving his trunk.