Tusker’s social bonds in Rajaji
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Conservation & Survey Division, Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change, Indira Paryavaran Bhawan, Jor Bagh Road, New Delhi 110003
Publication date: 2015-05-22
Hystrix It. J. Mamm. 2015;26(1):41–45

Male elephants are known to live solitary life after attaining the pubertal stage which is considered as ±15 years. However, cases of solo movement of young male elephants (±10 years) were also observed in different elephant ranges by several workers. In contrast, few studies have explored that male elephants do have associations; however these associations are occasional and temporary. In Rajaji National Park, north-western Shivalik landscape of India, bull elephants were observed to have a year round association, mainly to perform movements outside the boundaries of protected habitats and to enjoy palatable crops. Such strategies of bull elephants however are temporary and for achieving some particular target, but would affect their social behaviour especially in context of ranging pattern. Observations made in between 2006-2010 exposed that bull groups consists of 2-8 individuals, who were performing movement in parts of Rajaji National Park, Haridwar forest division and agriculture fields. An exceptional example, revealing on their strong social bond and attachment, is illustrated, which was recorded while observing them randomly in between 2006-2010. Since a long continuous chain of forests which exists in between Rajaji–Corbett wildlife corridor has disrupted mainly because of habitat fragmentation and man-elephant conflict is increasing rapidly, regular monitoring of elephant’s habitat and population would be of paramount importance. This is the first time such an unusual interaction among bull elephants has been recorded and possible explanations for the behaviour are discussed.