Baby Elephants

It’s pretty miraculous that a developing country which is struggling to take care of its people can even think about making room for environmentalism. But Nepal is doing just that. They are actively employing solar power and non-invasive hydro-power instead of coal, and they have created sanctuaries for some of their rare wild animals. They are employing reverse innovation (a term I learned while Chris was earning his MBA). It’s the idea that developing nations create products or ideas where there is limited infrastructure (like battery-operated medical devices, or wireless national communication systems) because they don’t have the infrastructure of a developed country. Then that technology is repurposed in developed countries. Anyway, I like the idea that necessity is the most efficient creator, and those of us in developed countries can learn from those with less amenity.

So they’re doing this with all sorts of things in Nepal, from road construction and water treatment to environmental protection. It’s apparent on the environmental side in places like Chitwan, where they have realized that the riches lay in the wild, natural world. I really think there is a way to aid them in their quest without ruining it with tourism, so as I collect more information I’m getting closer to figuring out how.

I visited the crocodile breeding center this time. They’re insuring the survival of a top level predator in the jungle. And guess what. There’s no fight between the people where one group wants them killed and the other wants them to live (see wolf reintroduction in America for reference). They all understand it’s for the greater good and to keep nature intact. The Old World is wilder than the New World. Think about that for a moment. It makes me really question the way my own culture is going about developing in its own space. If they can live 30 million people (the population of California) in the space of Tennessee, and still have spaces for rhinoceros, elephants, monkeys and crocodiles in the wild, they’re doing something well that we aren’t, right? I just know there is a way to learn from that. They have already succeeded with the rhinoceros in Chitwan. They were removed from the endangered list after Nepal’s efforts changed their numbers from several hundred to several thousand animals in the wild.

On my jungle ride (10 of us on bench seats in the back of a jeep) we saw monkeys, wild pigs, snakes, deer, termite hills, fish, cranes nesting, egrets and other water birds, and elephants working with men.

I went to the elephant breeding center again. And I enjoyed the beauty of the majestic animals in a way I can’t see them in my own country. They roam the jungle as mom-baby-handler trios. I arrived at the center just before the elephants came back out of the jungle for the day. This is what it looked like.

The elephants greeted each other with trumpets and low rumbling growls, as well as trunk touching and head bobbling. They’re social creatures. It was so fun to watch them interact with each other after being out at work all day.

An older baby elephant heading toward mom and younger sibling.

An older sibling meets mom and baby

A baby comes to greet me.