Rajan: The Swimming Elephant
Today in the days where we are recreating movies on epic and historical minds and players of the country. We bring you a story which is no less than a Heroic movie tale itself. A story of an elephant who could swim through not for a few meters but Kilometres and miles.
Here we bring you a story of a swimming elephant: Rajan
There were times when men used elephants to help them carry logs across the rivers. Locals in the Andaman Islands, which lie between India and Myanmar, originally trained elephants to swim to work for them. Out of a population of a maximum of 31,368 elephants in the country (India), as stated by Wikipedia, Rajan was a chosen one.
Rajan used to live in Andaman and Nicobar Island back in the 1970s when he was brought to the island to lug wood between the islands. It was a practice that was soon banned due to Animal Rights. In 2004, Rajan became a part of a Tarsem Singh film shoot. But, when the shoot was wrapped, the elephant was found sick and stranded on the island because his owner was unable to pay the cargo vessel enough to ship him off the island. It was difficult and even more challenging to take care of the giant on the island itself.
That’s when the Barefoot Resort on Havelock Island took came to rescue. The Resort decided to take care of the elephant-like one of their own and soon the animal became a spot of attraction for tourist.
However, in 2007, Due to the popularity of the elephant, the owner tried to sell the elephant to a temple in Kerala for a sum of Rs 24 lakhs. The Barefoot Resort decided to counter the amount and worked towards collecting enough funds to keep the elephant on the island. The resort committed to taking care of the elephant on the island where he would be allowed to swim in the sea, take his walks and rest at his own free will, instead of being tied to a temple.
The barefoot resort quoted “We believed that an old age spent with 10 days of ‘work’ each year (swimming) and the other 350 days spent in leisure with daily walks in the jungles of Havelock, was much better for the well-being of this gentle giant than being chained to a temple wall for the rest of his years,” .
The Barefoot Resort managed to raise Rs 27 lakhs to keep the elephant on the island and eventually the elephant was allowed to stay on the island itself.
However, Like we say nothing lasts forever so did he. The giant swimmer who was one of its kinds died at the age of 66 while grazing in the jungle in the Andaman Islands. He was the last of its kind and no other elephant who can swim exists in the world. He died in August 2016.