19 April 2014
The sounds of the Football World Cup peel off TVs and mobile phones.
In the lush undergrowth of a swamp surrounded by banana plantations and people’s homes, a baby is born to the ‘resident’ herd of elephants.
The humans abandon their screens, and the baby is named “Messi” by ardent Argentina fans!
The birth of an Asian elephant is almost the rarest wild sighting for a human being.
The KK herd and the humans around in the tea and coffee plantations are exemplars of coexistence.
Foraging, sleeping, playing, all with humans in close proximity. Tolerating each other, constantly negotiating their boundaries and living in relative peace.
Every now and then the air is filled with cries and the beating of drums as people attempt to chase the herd into the nearby forest, and the nights with hollering as the elephants traipse into the town under street lights after bedtime.
But when baby Messi arrives, differences are put aside, the humans watch in wonder and the football team / elephant-chasers become the elephant-protectors.