We bring to you a tale of five animals from those bred in captivity to those in the wild, who are celebrities of their own world. They have inspired movies, millions of fans on social networks and video games. They have single handedly taken the tourism graph of their region to the next level. They have made a name for themselves due to their extraordinary skills, bravery and in some cases, plain cuteness.
A lot of us can’t stop smiling, seeing silly video of pets on YouTube or animal shaped breakfast cereals, but for some of us, that isn’t enough. It’s time you pay visit to these animals, before it’s too late. These 5 animals have built up quite a reputation for themselves and it’s only fair to want to see for oneself.
Do let us know, if you know of any legendary tale of any living animal, which is yet to be told!
Rajan, The Elephant
Where: Andaman And Nicobar Islands, India.
Rajan is a 63 year old Asian Elephant, and among the last at Andamans that can swim in oceans. He’s even featured in a Hollywood movie “The Fall”. His skills in the water can easily put sharks and natural swimmers to shame, thousands of travelers make the journey to Emerald Isles to see what it’d be like to swim with an elephant! He’s pretty popular among photographers too.
Rajan is known to be moody and may not necessarily dive but he’ll still swim a long way. When not in water, he’s munching on leaves or rubbing himself against trees. To dive with this marvelous creature you need to book well in advance and in a small group only, the tusker is not a circus animal and is taken on such commercial activities with far flung gaps.
Image: Sumer Verma (divephotoguide.com)
Bao Bao, The Giant Panda
Where: Washington, D.C, The United States.
Out of the 2,000 odd Pandas in the world today, Bao Bao is among the most well known, this female cub lives in captivity at the National Zoo.
Bao Bao was born on August 23rd, 2013, and recently celebrated her first birthday!
Bao Bao was born to Mei Xiang (another Panda) by the process of artificial insemination. As a part of China’s “Panda Diplomacy”, Bao Bao is officially Chinese and will be returning to China when she turns 4 years old.
This Panda is still learning, she can’t eat bamboo yet but loves sweet potatoes, apple juice and fruitsicles. She’s an outdoor animal for sure, spending more time outside than in her enclosure meant for sleeping. Her favorite activity is climbing trees and at times, falling from them in a rather funny way. Bao Bao was named a 100 days after her birth, after taking a poll, even First Lady Michelle Obama voted to have her named Bao Bao.
Image: Washington Post
Shamu, The Orca Whale
Where: Orlando, Florida, The United States.
The Original Shamu existed between 1960s and 70s, but this is the name that’s carried on and has been given to The Star Killer Whales at Sea-World. Shamu, the name has been trademarked by Sea-World and so the legacy of Shamu has lived on. There’s many Orcas at Sea-World, and one of them is pregnant, expected to deliver in December 2014. Shamu’s shows are a work of art, involving heavy choreography involving the big fish and the people, Shamu dives and splashes it’s tail to create ripples and splashes that can easily reach the end of the audience!
A few daring and willing individuals from the crowd get the opportunity to swim with her too! You can witness the Orca’s greatness at San Diego, San Antonio and Orlando Sea-Worlds.
The whales are pretty moody and are known to get aggressive with their trainers, but such incidents rarely end up being fatal or dangerous.
Image: Wikimedia Commons
Machali, The Tigress
Where: Ranthambore, Rajasthan, India.
Machali or T16 is the most photographed feline in the world and has ruled (for more than a decade), the Ranthambore National Park, the most spectacular tiger territory in India. The dominant creature of the region has been in the spotlight ever since she has been filmed, fighting and killing a 14 feet tall Crocodile. She has annihilated many predators (sometimes, twice her size) to save her cubs. ‘Machali‘ got her name because of the 2 fish like markings on the left side of her face. She’s mated with 3 different males and has given birth to around 8 cubs in total. Half the population in Ranthambhore and Sariska parks are of her lineage and she is solely responsible for reviving the fortunes of Ranthambhore.
As unfortunate as it may be, she’s now in her devolving phase, being a toothless tiger that needs to be fed, and even though she moves with all her grace and might, she is no more the fierce feline she once was. As a tribute to the tiger, she will be immortalised upon death, her skin will be used to create a life size trophy, that’ll remind people of her existence. This 18 year old (equivalent to a 120 year old human) is a celebrity. Her facebook page has more than 150K fans.
Image: Shardul Amit
Winter, The Dolphin
Where: Clearwater, Florida, The United States.
Winter is not your average bottlenose, she’s a special creature, a symbol of survival. When she was caught trapped in Crab trap lines at Cape Canaveral, she lost her tail. Usually, animals with such injuries die real quick, but Winter lived on and has been healthy since she got her prosthetic tail, engineered to perfection and made countless times because of her ever growing size. Winter wears a prosthetic tail with a special gel designed to keep her skin safe.
Winter’s movements are also very different, she swims side to side like sharks, but the prosthetic helps her move more like a dolphin. She recently starred in the movie Dolphin Tale 2, that premiered in the US in September 2014. She’s popular among kids because of a Nintendo DS video game based on her and because of the screen time she gets in the Dolphin Tale movie series.