an Elepant and a Man long live Friendship (Havelock Island, Indian Ocean)

October 19, 2010 at 8:34 pm | Posted in Lifescape | Leave a comment
The photograph, showing Nasru perched upon Rajan’s tusks, was selected as a Viewers’ Choice favorite in the National Geographic International Photography contest last December, bringing with it worldwide attention for an elephant and man whose lives have been so intertwined.

Naldi says that he has found inspiration in the photograph, musing that “if an elephant can swim, what can’t you do?” But, chances are, Nasru and Rajan are too busy enjoying the sand and sea to ponder such questions.

clipped from

swimming elephant photo
In fact, Rajan the elephant, and his human swimming companion, Nasru, two years his junior, have become something of a tourist attraction on Havelock Island in the Indian Ocean

While nowadays Rajan spends his time swimming and relaxing on his island home, his life wasn’t always so idyllic. According to a report from The Telegraph, the paddling pachyderm was originally brought to the island from the Indian mainland as a beast of burden, working with Nasru on a lumber operation before logging was banned eight years ago.

After that, most of the working elephants were sent off the island–but Rajan and Nasru opted for an early retirement on the island. Not even an enticing offer of almost $60 thousand for Rajan, made by a Hindu temple, could pull him away from the sand and surf–as a tourist campaign was organized to raise the funds to keep the famed elephant and his human companion around and swimming, often with paying tourists.

underwater swimming elephant photo

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