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Projects in India

Mahout Interactive Program

Chris Reifschneider

Asian Elephant Support funded a meeting of mahouts and kavadis in the Bandipur Tiger Reserve and National Park this past January.  Ms. Mamatha, an educator, conducted the survey.  In these times the traditional way of living with elephants as a mahout is falling by the wayside.  With that declining culture there will also be a loss of traditional knowledge.  Mamatha’s goal was to gather information from these mahouts to begin recording this hands on knowledge for all to use.  As the plight of the Asian elephant does seem dismal at times, perhaps we can find a viable solution to preserve them hidden within the lives of mahouts.  It was found that overall, the mahouts put their charge’s welfare first and foremost and that the close bond between mahout and elephant was their favorite part of the job.  Then, the history of the camps in the Mysore area was discussed as well as different training methods that had been passed down.  In the future, all those involved would like to host another meeting that includes even more mahouts from the surrounding areas for gathering of information.  AES provided shirts, caps, and bumper stickers to all participants.