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Q: Buying an elephant ( No Answer,   13 Comments )
Subject: Buying an elephant
Category: Family and Home > Pets
Asked by: ajitq-ga
List Price: $5.00
Posted: 03 Feb 2005 00:19 PST
Expires: 05 Mar 2005 00:19 PST
Question ID: 467973
I live in the south Indian city of Madras (Chennai). I want to buy an
elephant. Where can I get one? How much will it cost to maintain? Can
I commute to work on it?
There is no answer at this time.

Subject: Re: Buying an elephant
From: mikomoro-ga on 03 Feb 2005 00:33 PST
I can sell you a white elephant, cheap.

It's very low maintenance because it will eat anything and is great
for travelling from home to work because it will shove all those
sacred cows off the roads.

Of course, we will need a Jumbo 747 to get it to you.

Is this OK?
Subject: Re: Buying an elephant
From: ajitq-ga on 03 Feb 2005 00:37 PST
I'm serious!
Purchasing an elephant has a lot of benefits in a place like India.
Apart from the traditional benefits (good resale value, good
investment -- doubles every ten years or so --, clean fuel and useful
exhaust, and companionship) many people in India make a lot of money
from elephants by loaning them out to temples for festivals, using
them to haul timber etc.
It isn't really unusual to see elephants on Indian roads, by the way.
I probably see one a month at least outside my house.
Subject: Re: Buying an elephant
From: jack_of_few_trades-ga on 03 Feb 2005 09:07 PST
"Wild elephants eat all types of vegetation, from grass and fruit to
leaves and bark?about 220 to 440 pounds (100 to 200 kilograms) each
day. The elephants at the San Diego Zoo and the San Diego Zoo's Wild
Animal Park eat less?about 125 pounds (57 kilograms) of food each day.
Most of their diet is hay, herbivore pellets, and acacia browse. The
elephants also drink about 30 gallons (113.5 liters) of water each

"We estimate it costs 3,200 a year to feed an elephant"
(the zoo probably gets food cheaper than you can)

That's about $6,000 US per year
261,000 India Rupees per year.

A car and a dog would certainly be cheaper unless you can make alot of
money from renting him out.  But then you have more risk of losing
your elephant if you rent him out (bad care, dangerous/strenuous
situations, theft...).
Subject: Re: Buying an elephant
From: just4fun2-ga on 03 Feb 2005 12:03 PST
Well, Jack of few trades suggests that it is going to cost you 500
bucks a month to own the elephant - not including the purchase price.

May I suggest you buy a Ford Mustang to get to and from work everyday.
 And, I think, you'll have better luck with the ladies.....

Dating on a elephant - that a tough one - does the elephant carry the
box you use to get on it or do you park the elephant by a second story
window? And what about parking meters..?  Questions questions.... And
want do you do if the elephant passes a little, well you know, when
you are on your date...??

Mustang cool, elephant not so cool...
Subject: Re: Buying an elephant
From: ajitq-ga on 03 Feb 2005 13:12 PST
jack_of_few_trades, I am sure the prices in India for elephant feed is
substantially lower than in San Diego. While 261,000 rupees is rather
high, I think 100,000 rupees or lower is certainly affordable.

just4fun2, coolness doesn't really come into it. I'm interested in
buying the elephant only for its utilitarian value. I'm not really
sure if it's legal to use elephants for commuting, though, I am hoping
that someone will know.
Besides, it is well-known that if you own an elephant and look after
it well, loan it out to temples etc, you will go to heaven eventually.
I haven't heard of any such similar benefit that comes with cars, but
I think they're associated with hell instead. After all, Indra rides
the divine elephant Airavata, and the only person in Indian myth who
rode any kind of motorised vehicle was Ravana.

I need help from someone who will take this question seriously and do
some intelligent research for me!
Subject: Re: Buying an elephant
From: jack_of_few_trades-ga on 03 Feb 2005 13:41 PST
I'm sorry you didn't take my post seriously.  I did the research and
found a site that stated the approximate cost (of a zoo) to feed an
elephant.  As I stated before, I'm certain the zoo can get food
cheaper than you can... and you're correct that elephant food in India
is probably cheaper than in England (however you said San Diego).  I
figured both of those arguements were relevant and also that they
somewhat cancelled eachother out, so I chose to ignore them both. 
It's not a perfect formula, but I see you putting less science into
your thoughts than I put in mine.

As far as the religious aspects of the elephant, I was completely
unaware of them and you had not mentioned them before in your question
or comment (you only mentioned monetary cost/benefits and

I (nor any other person in the world) can not put a value on your
religion, and you certainly know more about what you believe and it's
worth to you than anyone else does.
Subject: Re: Buying an elephant
From: ajitq-ga on 03 Feb 2005 15:03 PST
jack_of_few_trades, I appreciate your comments and your research, but
I am sure that you too appreciate that I need more concrete numbers...
As I've mentioned before, elephants are very differently viewed in
India and in some other parts of South Asia compared to many other
parts of the world (where they are predominantly zoo or wild animals).
I am certain that there is _some_ place where it is possible to get
addresses, costs and recommendataions from, and comments from people
who actually own elephants. I just don't know where to look, and I am
just hoping that someone will be able to find that kind of info for
Though I am grateful for your research, I am not really asking for
advice about whether or not to own an elephant.
Subject: Re: Buying an elephant
From: jack_of_few_trades-ga on 03 Feb 2005 18:31 PST
"Elephants are available at auctions in India and would probably cost
about 10,000, plus shipping costs, Dr Rao said."

An elephant can cost between 500 000 to one million rupees  - Sapa-DPA

There's your purchase price.

Well, I'm no expert at prices in India... so perhaps you can tell us
how much this would cost:
"In the wild:
Elephants feed mainly on grass, tree foliage, bark, roots, shrubs,
fruit and soil for its mineral content. Full-grown elephants consume
about six to eight percent of their own body weight in vegetation each
day. To accomplish this, they spend as many as 18 hours per day
feeding. These massive animals can drink 26 gallons (100 l) of water
at one time and, when thirsty, more than 55 gallons (208 l) within

At the zoo: 
Hay, grain and vegetables (carrots are a favorite)"

Let us know what 300 pounds of that would cost daily in India.  

So we have 500,000 rupees (or more) to buy one and 300 pounds of those
foods daily to feed it.  I hope that answers your question.  (and
please inform us as to about how much that food would cost as I'm
quite curious)
Subject: Re: Buying an elephant
From: rai130-ga on 04 Feb 2005 03:12 PST
A while back I read 'Travels on my Elephant' by Mark Shand. Amazing
book, can see why you'd want an elephant. You should read it...
Subject: Re: Buying an elephant
From: hydcallin-ga on 09 Feb 2005 04:36 PST
Have you tried going to the temples in Kerala and asking them how
where they get their elephants from? (I dont remember the temple names
Subject: Re: Buying an elephant
From: fp-ga on 09 Feb 2005 04:59 PST
"Practical Elephant Management", a handbook published in 1997


"Elephant Trade in India":

"Purchasing Elephants - Tricks of the Trade":

Article in The Daily Times, Pakistan, 23 Dec 2004:
"Bureaucracy tramples elephant trade in India"
Subject: Re: Buying an elephant
From: elephantlover44-ga on 02 May 2005 20:10 PDT
Do you still have that elephant Mikomoro-ga?  i am REALLY interested
in buying one...if you don't have it anymore do you know of anyone
that does?  Thanx for your help!!
Subject: Re: Buying an elephant
From: sume-ga on 23 May 2005 20:29 PDT
hello ajitq
in kerala elephants are costlier than 1,00,000 elephants from assam is
cheaper i would suggest you to buy from there after considering
transportation cost. no elephant owhers will sell his elephant unless
he is is their symbol of pride you wont earn much by
sending for work unless for work related to turism and that related to
temple need to hire 2 persons for maintaining elephant
its food and if necessary medicnes . maintainence is also costly so it
is not a good idea to earn by investing in elephants.
       elephants from kerala have become very less (even tamed one) so
there is a great demand for them within kerala and many elephant
owners are buying form assam whichis cheaper but inferior (as per
elephant experts). but in temples they dont prefer elephants from
assam since it dosent have aristrocatic look even the astrology of
elephant is looked before buying elephants yes elephants too have
only rich people who want to show they are rich would buy elephants 
there is an elephants owners assosication at trichur(a city in kerala)
 you can enquire there about buying elephant

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