sign in a cave in Laos

25 November 2013

More elephants in Merapoh caves

Earlier this year, in Feb 2013, I did a post on elephants in and around Merapoh caves. Since that blog I went back to Gua Gajah Marah in Nov. My earlier posting on this cave was in Sept 2012.

On this latest visit, I was shocked to find the whole area outside the cave had been completely cleared. See post on deforestation.

There was a lot less elephant dung in the entrance and none of it was fresh. So it looks like the animals have stopped going to that cave.

The day before, on 18 Nov we went to Gua Cadu. This is well visited by elephants as the
entrance slope was like a mine field, with droppings everywhere.
 The top of the entrance slope ends in a climb up so this is as far as the elephants can go -
However there was a small passage leading down, with a drop of about 1.5m into a small chamber. Sadly I found the bones of a probably young elephant in this chamber. It must have gone in and been unable to get out, and probably suffered a very slow lingering death as it starved. Found many of the bones but not the skull.

There were even piles of droppings on a ledge, not sure how it got there, I assume the
elephants just stick their backsides over the ledge.

As in the other Merapoh caves used by elephants, there is no sign of them digging for salts from guano or rocks. However you can see the rub marks below the ledge (above). And this tree trunk is covered in mud from elephants.
There is new life growing in the fresh droppings -

 There were fresh droppings on the logging trail, these smelt as if they had been deposited very recently -

© Liz Price
No reproduction without permission

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