Watch Them Tuskers Bathe at the Kottur Elephant Sanctuary in Kerala | India


It was another beautiful day when our #KeralaBlogExpress bus rolled into the forest of Kappukadu as evidenced by the sunlight seeping through the cracks of the canopy of towering trees. As I was enjoying the scenery outside the window, our bus grinds to a halt and I hear our guide Manooj summoning us to go down.

Ari Montano, Levy Amosin and Celine Murillo

Entering a gate with the sign "Kottur Elephant Sanctuary and Rehabilitation Centre" a staff immediately summoned our attention, "Some large creatures are eagerly waiting for all of you, they are excited to meet you".

Barbara Rotella

If I didn’t know we’re in an elephant sanctuary, I would have half-believed him that some mystical beings are really expecting our presence because of the way he spoke to us. After walking a few hundred meters, I started hearing splashes. I turned my head to my right and there on the lake water, a trio of dark brown beauties happily plopping each other with water using their tusks like what golden retriever dogs often do on puddles of rain.

Home for the Aged Elephants

Spread across 56 hectares of mossy forest and fertile grass lands surrounding the water of Neyyar reservoir, the Kottur Elephant Sanctuary and Rehabilitation Center provides more than ample space for the elephants accommodated here to move freely without chains.

Karla Ramos and Audrey Trinidad

The center currently houses more than 30 elephants young and old, rescued and those needing caring for. It has become an orphanage and retirement home for these lovable giant mammals. The sanctuary’s most popular resident, Kottur Soman, is only the oldest living elephant in the world. (born in 1942. Too bad, we didn't catch a sight of him that day).

Mujee Gonzales

Established in 2006, the elephant sanctuary can shelter 50 elephants and employ 80 mahouts—an elephant rider and trainer—while still maintaining a "wilderness" environment for the elephants. 

Jomie Naynes, Cheekie Albay and Koryn Iledan

Our Kerala crew were all allowed to go near to touch some of the elephants we chanced upon being bathed by their trainers that day. I went to the one standing nearest me and watched the male elephant up close. I could see him open his mouth in delight as he played with the water using his trunk. In every scrubbing motion by his mahout, he will show appreciation by wiggling his huge butt.

Mica Rodriguez and Kara Santos

With elephants being an integral part of India's culture and tradition—aside from playing vital role in its early history, it comes as no surprise to see sanctuaries like this built all over the country.

Ayi Del Rosario

Kerala is one such place where much of the elephants can roam free in the wild and to those who for some reasons are unable to survive in the wild, it's a great think that there’s a sanctuary waiting for them in Kappukadu.