(Photo 1: A forestry official near footprints of the elephant in snow; Photo 2: The elephant climbing up north; courtesy Wildlife Conservation Division, Bhutan)
First it was the Lost Tigers, as BBC called them, found at around 4,000 meters above sea level in Bhutan, all happy and breeding. And now, caught on camera is a four-year-old elephant at 3,419 meters amid snow on a mountain in Southern Bhutan. This Lamche, as Bhutanese call the elephant in Dzongkha, will hold the animal kingdom record for being the only elephant to have scaled this height.
Bhutan’s Wild Life Conservation Divison says elephants have been found only upto 2800 meters. “The current tusker may be either trying to establish new territory or showing abnormal behavior which animals are likely to experience,” forestry officer, Sangay Dorji said.
He reached Shougay La on February 11, a mountaintop in southern Bhutan, after days of walking, and stood outside the barbed wire fence of the microwave tower. It was around 9pm that the tower caretaker tashi Dawa heard his dogs barking.
“When I checked it out, I was surprised to see the giant creature standing next to the barbed wire fence,” said Tashi Dawa who alerted forest officials.
Though hungry and not used to snow,, the elephant looked calm, he added.
“The tusker lost his cool when he became hungry. He walked up and down the snow but found nothing. Then after around five hours he descended to 3,000 meters where he found some green bamboo to which he sought a liking and stayed there for six days,” wrote The Bhutanese newspaper.
“The bamboo species in the area were flowering; thus, the bamboo in the entire area is dead. However, we recorded the fresh green bamboo at 3000 m asl and found the feeding sign of elephant on these bamboos in the area,” said of the monitoring team.