|A bridge at the start of the trail, Teknaf Wildlife Reserve.|
The Teknaf Peninsula is ruggedly beautiful. With the rise of the rocky range that divides the land strip between the Naf River and the Bay of Bengal it’s impossible not to feel elated, to know that Teknaf is quite the destination.
|Jahangir Alam, 18, has been working as a guide for 10 years.|
|Into the woods...|
By Jahangir's estimate there are 30 elephants in the reserve and he commonly sees a family of ten, though pachyderms offer no guarantee of being cooperative for tourists. The best season to see them is winter when they are more active of a daytime.
|Visitor Centre, Teknaf Wildlife Sanctuary.|
|Hot. Humid. Sweaty.|
Of course we’re hardly the first to set off in search of elephants. Just as nowadays in village and town government tenders, for bridge building, school outfitting or some other task are an appreciable element of local economies, once there were also tenders for elephant catching, in order to domesticate them.
|Boats, fishing nets, low tide on the Naf River... view to the mountains of Myanmar.|
|The Teknaf Range|
Fire lines and loud sounds like gunshots were used to make the elephants “blindly and senselessly” proceed into the trap. Care had to be taken however, because “once scared no earthly force can control the herd.”
|Elephant evidence on hilltop.|
|The lower hills of Teknaf Wildlife Sanctuary.|
Yet our situation is reversed. Gasping for air, I’m struggling to look composed while Jahangir climbs the hills as readily as if he was on an escalator at a shopping mall in Dhaka. He is yet to raise a sweat. “We are forest people,” says Jahangir, “We live here.”
|Mangroves on the Naf. View to Myanmar.|
Along the ridgeline the path is narrow. I wonder if I actually want to meet an elephant up there; and I’m set to ask Jahangir if the animals climb so high when we sight elephant droppings.
|Teknaf Wildlife Sanctuary scenery.|