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Thursday, September 20, 2012

Elephant sand imprint - so perfect an indenture

Marina or any other beach for that matter – makes you enjoy the nature – simply sit idly near the waves and watch them.  Different hues, size, force, jumping one on the other, creating ripples and frothing – they come one after the other – some small and some big – even as they reverberate, they slowly lose their force as they touch the shore and gently go back. Gentle !, may not be all the time, it can be ferocious also..

As you sit on the sands on the sea shore, may be closer to feel the waves touching your feet – you can feel one with nature; the sound, the sight of waves and feeling them on your legs would take back to olden days when you cherished that summer holiday visit along with your cousins, may be building sand castles or simply walking on the wet sands, seeing your imprints and seeing them vanish with a stroke of the wave. 

It is the desire of the mankind to leave their imprints everywhere ! knowing fully well, that they could only be temporary and can be wiped out by more people treading the same path or by the action of waves and winds…….. still, we like to see our footprints imprinted.  An imprint is to produce a mark on surface by pressure.

The imprint of Sundara, an eight year old Asian elephant at Chester Zoo has hit the headlines in a big way.  Chester Zoo is a zoological garden at Upton-by-Chester, in Cheshire, England. It was opened in 1931 and is  one of the UK's largest zoos at 111 acres.  Chester Zoo is currently operated by the North of England Zoological Society, a registered charity founded in 1934.

Chester Zoo is acclaimed to be the first zoo in the UK to successfully breed Asian elephants in captivity. Upali, Maya, Jangolie, Sithami, Jamilah, Sundara, Nayan are all Asian elephants in Chester zoo.  There reportedly, is an elephant house modeled on Assamese rain forest.   It is a state-of-the-art facility and a  purpose built enclosure for  breeding herd of Asian elephants as well as other threatened species of their habitat.  It has forest vegetation and live planting, supplemented with artificial trees and roots. The elephants are also currently enjoying their newly refurbished outside enclosure which now provides a deep layer of sand and reduced slopes. A particular type of sand normally used for football pitches was chosen as it proved to be the most effective for the elephants.

Elephants lie down on their sides to sleep for around four hours a night and usually turn over at least once.  Even elephants that live in a zoo have a natural instinct to be aware of predators, which causes them to wake during their sleep as often as every half hour. They tend to have something to eat and then go back to sleep. Due to their weight, elephants are forced to switch sides during their sleep. The mass of their bodies is so much that it puts pressure on their bones, causing pain and discomfort. The animals are also very light sleepers. If there were a sudden loud noise - either in the wild or in a zoo - an elephant would quickly be on its feet.  Have read that in their natural habitat as a precaution, , a herd of elephants would not sleep at the same time. There would always be at least one keeping watch.

The news and photo that is getting circulated around is ‘perfect imprint’  of an elephant's head left in the sand at the spot where it slept.  UK Press is agog of the astonishing finding of the staff at Chester zoo of a fine, detailed impression of the mamooth's head where it fell asleep in the sand

On first glance, you might be forgiven for thinking you'd stumbled across an impressive piece of wildlife art. The fine detail - right down to the elephant's trunk and eyes - shows the perfect outline of the gigantic beast. But this is not the work of an artist. Nor is it likely to remain in the spot where it was found for too much longer. This incredibly detailed imprint of the elephants was left in the sand when the beast arose from its slumber.  The incredible image is the imprint of Sundara, an eight-year-old Asian elephant, where it fell asleep in the sand at Chester Zoo.  The indentation is so clear, it even shows the fine detail of the ridges on the animal's trunk, as well as its ear and eyes. Judging by the imprint - Sundara did not appear to move too much during its jumbo slumber – and by a stroke of luck,  it didn't seem to disturb the impressive artwork when it arose from its snooze.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.

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