Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Fifty eight year old mahout Nasru sits on the tusks of his 60 year old elephant Rajan.

Fifty eight year old mahout Nasru sits on the tusks of his 60 year old elephant Rajan.

Fifty eight year old mahout Nasru sits on the tusks of his 60 year old elephant Rajan.

It was taken in the Andaman Islands, a remote archipelago in the Bay of Bengal, where Rajan, a 60-year-old elephant, lives.
The six-ton elephant learnt to swim 40 years ago to help work for logging companies there.
For years the elephant felled trees with Nasru, his 58-year-old driver.

But in 2002 logging was banned in the islands and most of the 200 elephants were sent back to the Indian mainland.
However, Rajan was kept on by a wealthy owner who had no desire to see him leave Havelock Island, and enjoyed a blissful existence eating bananas and swimming in the crystal clear water.
Two years ago a Kerala temple offered £40,000 for the elephant and Rajan almost had to leave, before a tourist lodge launched a campaign to raise the funds to keep him. Since then Rajan and Nasru have become something of an attraction.

The photograph, taken by Italy-based Cesare Naldi, won first prize in the National Geographic International Photography contest last December.
Naldi told National Geographic: "When I was in the water with Rajan, I was really surprised by how fast he could move his legs to swim. Most of the time he had his head under the water and used his long nose to breathe, like a submarine uses its periscope."

Fifty eight year old mahout Nasru sits on the tusks of his 60 year old elephant Rajan.

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