In search of the giant elephants of Nepal
A book by John Blashford-Snell and Rula Lenska and the foundation of my upcoming expedition to Bardia, Nepal when we will be following in Rula’s footsteps to gather further data on the elephant population.
From the dust cover
In 1987 rumours began to emanate from Nepal that local people had seen a massive elephantine creature – believed to be a mammoth – in their traditional hunting ground near the Karnali River.
When a traveller returned from Bardia in Nepal with convincing photographs, Colonel John Blashford-Snell, famous for his intrepid expeditions and for his contribution to the conservation of endangered animals, determined to mount an investigation.
Gathering together expert trackers, sharp-eyed Nepalese boatmen, elephant handlers and naturalists, he set off in pursuit of ‘the beast of Bardia’. As the rumours swelled, and the phantom came closer and closer to revealing itself, it became increasingly urgent that the expedition should persuade the local villagers, whose crops were being marauded and houses destroyed, that this was an animal to be preserved, not hunted down.
Spurred on by Blashford-Snell’s indomitable spirit in the harshest of conditions, the team of adventurers encountered dwindling tribes of hunter gatherers, heard the stories of the forest people, fended off charging tigers and rampaging wild elephants, and made one of the first descents of the infamous Peacock Ricer with its tumultuous rapids and sheer-sided gorges. Excitement grew as they discovered footprints here, fodder trails there, and finally sighted one giant elephant, then two more…
Aided in his search by Rula Lenska, equally well-known for her work with endangered animals, and by scientists who examined the carefully collected dung and old bones of long-buried fossils he brought home for genetic analysis, Blashford-Snell’s quest contributed important scientific evidence of the migration and evolution of elephants squeezed out of their feeding grounds two billion years before – and confirmed that the ‘beast of Bardia’ did indeed share features with prehistoric elephant…
Rula Lenska is a leading environmental activist and founding member of Elefriends. This Campaign is part of the Born Free Foundation, an international wildlife charity working throughout the world to stop individual wild animal suffering and protect threatened species in the wild.
Find out more
Mammoth Hunt is a tale of discovery and adventure. The book contains some fabulous photographs of the giant elephants that the expedition came across as well as other wildlife. For those who wish to read the full, exciting tale; Mammoth Hunt can still be purchased from Amazon.
For those who wish to hear how I get on with the 2012 expedition when we return to Bardia to seek out and monitor the giant elephants once more, and continue the important work towards reducing local fear of these magnificent creatures, please elect to follow this blog where I shall be keeping readers updated throughout.