‘Elephant Days and Nights: Ten Years with the Indian Elephant’ by R. Sukumar is an authoritative resource of information on Asian elephants. While it is widely recognised that elephants are dwindling in number, their conservation has hitherto been motivated more by public sympathy for the plight of these magnificent animals than by scientifically designed conservation methods. In this book, Sukumar makes a cogent argument that the survival of this key-stone species can be assured by having a thorough understanding of its ecology, behaviour and the problems they currently face. This book is the result of author’s research on the life of the wild elephants in Southern India. The book presents a synthesis of scientific information on the Asian elephant, comprehensively examines the threats faced by the elephants, and proposes valuable conservation options.
Chapter 9 of this book looks back 4000 years when elephants were first tamed during the Harappan Civilization and develops the fascinating story of how elephants became an extricable part of the people in Indian subcontinent. This topic, according to me, could have been dealt in detail. Likewise some more pages should have been devoted on the perspectives of the origin of Ganesha (the elephant headed God) in India.
This book is essential reading for everyone interested in biodiversity conservation in India and, especially the fate of its fast disappearing elephants.