In 1992, in the Bardia National Park, a wildlife reserve on the Sal forests of Western Nepal, John Blashford-Snell and a team from the Scientific Exploration Society discovered the largest elephant ever seen – Raja Gaj or King Elephant, as he became known.
In April 2012 John Blashford-Snell led another two expeditions to the Bardia Reserve. The first was for young people, under 18, with adult members of their family, and the second for adults.The aim of the 2012 Senior Elephant Quest Expedition was to study the wild elephants and catalogue the tiger, rhino and wildlife in the Bardia Reserve. The results will be passed to the Nepalese Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation.
On the final night of the 2012 Senior Elephant Quest Expedition a Burns Supper, with Stahly’s Royal Haggis, was held by the expedition members for the Nepalese helpers. The Address To a Haggis was delivered by two Scots, a dentist from Aberdeen and a scientific copywriter, now living in London.
The Address To A Haggis, Nepal, April 2012
The Wildlife Department Warden was presented with a brand new Honda Unicorn 150cc motorcycle for his anti poaching unit. This new body includes local school children who are encouraged to report poachers and it is certainly proving effective. The use of army patrols and the school children has reduced poaching so much that no cases have been reported for the last 12 months. Most of the wild elephants have the great domed head that Raja Gaj carried. Perhaps the DNA results will show that they are descended from this legendary bull.
The report of the 2012 Family Expedition (29th March – 10th April 2012), which immediately preceded the Senior Expedition, is typical of the type of work that ‘Blashers’ and his teams carry out. It makes for very interesting reading especially as it involves children in the project. All the children, both from Nepal and the UK, benefited from the fun, entertainment and education.