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About Rajan


Rajan is the elephant featured in the cover photograph of this issue of Ageless Woman. While Sonia was scuba diving in the Andaman Sea, photographing marine life, Rajan was swimming above her when she took this shot. It is one of our favorite photos. Read more from Sonia about her memories of Rajan:

 

I met Rajan in the island of Havelock in the Andamans while traveling to India in 2012.  I found out that the first thing elephants do when they meet a person is to look them straight in the eye.  That's how they size you up. 

There are many stories about Rajan, the last of the ocean swimming elephants.  I heard that his mate had taught him to swim and that, when she died from a snake bite, Rajan mourned for years.

 

After the lumber trade he worked in ceased, Rajan was purchased by a resort in Havelock.  This spared him the terrible fate of becoming a temple elephant, being made to walk on stone floors and beg for tips. 

 

Rajan lived in the Havelock jungle and would come out to swim with visitors, but only when he felt like it.  I had the privilege of diving with him twice -- he used his trunk as a snorkel and enjoyed it when divers hummed tunes underwater. 

Rajan died last summer in his jungle home, having been retired in 2014.  He was  between 67 and 70 years of age.  I cried when I heard this world had lost him. I cry every time I think of the harm we are inflicting on these vanishing giants. 

Click on images to the right to enlarge and share on social media.