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13th Annual Smithsonian Magazine Photo Contest Natural World
Excursion to see the Indian Elephant

After a 9 day trip in India, I still hadn't seen an elephant. My friends headed to the airport while my flight didn't leave until later. At the last minute, my native Indian friend, Kishan, chatted to our driver and asked him to take me to the nearest elephant preserve before my flight. After an hour drive with no music and a non-English speaking driver, we arrived at the preserve. I walked into the preserve with the driver and we made our way to the elephants. There was a small, 5 foot bamboo fence between myself and the elephants. All I wanted to do was pet the elephant, but alas, I couldn't. After snapping some photos, the driver came up to me, handed me his phone, and on the other end was Kishan. He told me he had talked to the driver, who talked to the elephant keeper about allowing me to pet the elephant. I had to bribe the elephant man 10 rupees (about $1.56), but I got to sneak into the elephant fence and pet a beautiful, female elephant for about 30 seconds. Well worth the wait and the bribe.

Photo Detail
Date Taken: 09.2014
Date Uploaded: 09.2015
Photo Location: Kochi, India
Camera: DSC-HX9V
Copyright: © Zachary Atwood