First stop was Guwahati, to visit Dr. Kushal Sarma at the University where he teaches, and then accompany him to Kaziranga National Park. On the border of the park, Linda got to participate in one of the many elephant health clinics that Dr. Sarma holds regularly for the private owners of elephants, many of whom are poor and therefore their elephants would not get necessary medical attention and preventatives were it not for Dr. Sarma’s effort and AES’ funding. It was especially good to meet some of the people and elephants Dr. Sarma has told us about over the years. After the health clinic, an afternoon of Kaziranga-style safari offered several viewings of the Greater One Horn Rhinoceros, another species both Dr. Sarma and Linda are particularly fond of.
The second stop was attending the Regional Asian Elephant & Tiger Veterinary Workshop at the Kerala Veterinary and Animal Sciences University. Dr. Arun Zachariah, professor at the University, and wildlife veterinarian AES has funded, was the host of this workshop funded by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service and facilitated by AES. Several veterinarians AES has funded were in attendance so it was a great opportunity to catch up in person.
The last few days of this trip were spent with Mamatha Sathyanarayana, the educator working with mahouts at some of the forest department elephant camps. In addition to a visit to the Dubare Elephant Camp, as well as a game drive in Bandipur National Park where we did see a tiger, Mamatha introduced Linda to many of the historic places in the Mysore area….as well as a stop at a small jaggery factory where we not only saw sugar cane being turned into sugar, we also got to taste it!
This trip will be detailed in multiple newsletter articles as it presented AES with the opportunity to visit in person with several people we have funded, meet new people who are also doing excellent work on behalf of elephants, and learn a bit more about the marvelous continent that is home to the largest population of Asian elephants.