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Elephants, Tigers, and Tea

Elephants played a big role in transporting tea throughout India in the 1800s.

They were essential for travel in the dense, tiger filled jungle, which was teeming with mystery and danger.

Being up high on the elephant’s back meant the tea transporters were out of harm’s way – for the most part.

Also, most wild tigers would scarper at the sound of a heavy-footed elephant trekking their way through bracken and bush.

Elephants were also extremely helpful in clearing the jungle and land in preparation for tea plantations and paths.

It is for these reasons that their power and strength contributed significantly to the growth of the tea trade in India.

Tea companies would capture the elephants and train them to be their workers.

The elephants would carry the tea on their backs – up to six chests at a time – strapped in specially made ‘howdahs’ or carriages.

One company also developed an elephant cart which carried fifty four chest of tea – more than 5000 pounds.

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