By: Raman Sukumar
339 pages, colour & b/w photos, colour & b/w illustrations, colour maps
The relationship between elephants and people in Asia over thousands of years is a unique one. This story of the Asian elephant begins with a brief account of the ancient origins of the creature and its possible relationship with early humans, leading eventually to the taming of the animal between 4500 and 5000 years ago in the Harappan period. Subsequent chapters covers successive periods in Asian history, tracing the story of the elephant broadly under the major religious establishments--Vedic, Buddhist and Jain, post-1st century Hindu, and Islamic--of the Indian subcontinent and beyond, including the fate of the elephants that Alexander and his successors took with them to the Mediterranean region for use in battle. After a discussion of the fortunes of the elephant under colonial rulers in Asia, the author presents the post-Independence history of the animal in 13 range countries. The final chapter is a summary of the latest scientific knowledge of the elephant's ecology and behaviour, and of how we can plan for the conservation of the species.
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