Elephants of Bangladesh


For the Young and Young-at-Heart

Elephant HidingWild Asian ElephantDid you know?
-An elephant’s heart beats only 25 times a minute.
-An elephant has 5 toes on its front feet. Tough hoof-like skin covers its toes.
-With its trunk, an elephant can pull a whole tree out of the ground or pick up a tiny twig.
-An elephant’s trunk has no bones but has 150,000 bands of muscle.
-An elephant can eat 300 pounds of food and drink 20 gallons of water each day.

Can You Spot the Differences?
Elephants in Bangladesh grow to 10 foot high at the shoulder, have small ears, and domed forehead, and a sloping back. They only have one “finger” at the end of the trunk. African elephants grown to 13 foot high at the shoulder, have large ears, and a sloping forehead. They have two “fingers” at the end of the trunk.

It’s winter in Bangladesh. We don’t discuss coming snowstorms; we discuss coming elephants. Bangladesh’s elephants visit lowland rivers and ponds this time of year, knocking over bamboo houses and devouring village banana trees. I have heard trumpeting when I run in the morning. One elephant trail passes our friend Soyed’s house. An angry elephant smashed a hole in Ishmael’s mud-walled kitchen. Every year patients come to MCH following an elephant attack.  Our friend Raong recommends that we greet an elephant with “Uncle” should we meet one on the path; he says that elephants know if you are respectful!

We don’t pray for safety in snowstorms here. The tribal ladies asked that we pray for safety from elephants. This January was no different.  Our winter adventures may be different than yours, but our powerful God is the same. And his promise is the same for Bangladeshis as it is for you: “Cast all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.”