Size definitely matters, especially when it comes to what we humans think of as cute and cuddly.
Your giant critters, like the blue whale and brown bear, are undeniably awe-inspiring, and spotting them in the wild has the power to make anyone stop and ponder their place in the universe. But let’s be honest – you could ride a blue whale over Niagara Falls and it wouldn’t beat the thrill of getting to hug a teeny, tiny pygmy elephant.
Baby-faced, with oversized ears, plump bellies, and tails so long they drag on the ground, the Borneo pygmy elephant isn’t only more delightful-looking than its bigger cousins, they’re famous for being friendlier too.
You could ride a blue whale over Niagara Falls and it wouldn’t beat the experience of getting to hug a teeny, tiny pygmy elephant.
Believed to be remnants of a domesticated herd given to the Sultan of Sulu in the 17th century, pygmy elephants were isolated from their mainland relatives about 300,000 years ago. Over time, and for reasons that aren’t exactly clear, they started shrinking, and today they’re the smallest elephants in Asia.
Regardless of their size, all elephants are cool. One of the smartest creatures on the planet, they’re also emotionally sophisticated, and are able to show a lot more love for one another, than other wild beasts. Maybe it’s because a matriarch leads them, but a herd will never leave a member behind, and it’s true that elephants are able to remember crew they haven’t seen in years.
Sadly, it’s not just the stature of the pygmy elephant that’s shrinking. By all estimates, there are only about 1,500 left in the forests of Borneo. Whether it’s from logging, or hunters, these little guys are in for a big fight if they want to survive.
The good news is people who’ve done the TripADeal 13-day tour of Borneo have spotted pygmy elephants during their adventures, so it’s not too late.