Many years ago, a scientific study discovered that ancient elephants partially lived in water. And it is generally known that pachyderms enjoy swimming, using their trunks as a snorkel while doing deep sea diving.
Meet Rajan, the swimming elephant. Rajan lived on Havelock Island, located near the Andaman Islands, and first came to fame for being featured in Tarsem Singh's 2006 The Fall. Post the shoot, the elephant was stranded on the island until he was rescued by the Barefoot Resort, where he became a tourist attraction and gained viral infamy. Sadly, the world famous elephant died some time between Sunday and Monday morning while grazing in the jungles on the island.
His swimming retained a cinematic quality and always seemed to have some kind of ethereal backing score adding to the awe-inspiring effect of seeing such a huge creature tuck in his legs and go for a swim in the sea.
The video below features a scene from the The Fall, that provided the blueprint for the style of all the viral videos that followed.
The below video is shot by the resort themselves and also contains responses to any allegations of animal cruelty. While it does seem like the commercialisation of an animal that would otherwise have been perfectly happy in the wild, the allegations of cruelty because of "sawing off tusks" might be unfounded because that is done when they become too big for the animal to walk around comfortably, according to the resort.