Wednesday, August 22, 2012

ETOSHA ELEPHANT TANTRUMS


Spend enough time in the bush and soon it will reveal more than just a glimpse of an animal or two, a whole new world waits for those who seek it.The longer periods of time I spend in the bush the more I envy the Game Ranger who gets out to see the animals every day and is afforded much more than just a glimpse. On our trip to Etosha Pan in July one little elephant decided to allow us more than just a cursory glance.


En-route to the Rietfontein waterhole we are stopped dead in our tracks on the busiest route in the reserve by a black rhino with her calf. However, a black rhino normally only affords one a fleeting glimpse and this rhino was no different. She soon crosses the road and the grass folds around the pair as they disappear from sight. We move on and only a matter of a few hundred metres further there is a small breeding herd of elephants right next to the road. A cow and calf are the first to move across onto the road. They pick up the white dust off the road and blow it around before they move over onto the other side.



Suddenly out of the thorny bush another young elephant emerges. He is probably a teenager in elephant terms. He swivels around and glares at us. Then he plants his four feet firmly on the road and his ears flap menacingly. 

As well trained safari-ers we sit tight and don't move. This gets us another glare and then suddenly the ears and the trunk are hoisted and what follows can only be described as the most endearing defence of any piece of turf I have ever witnessed.









In the days to come we meet up with this distinctive little elephant again on several occasions. It appears that he is no more than a very naughty boy. He is one of several young elephants who splash around in the water and exercise their wrestling skills by going head to head kicking up mud and grass. When the call comes from the rest of the herd to move on it is simply ignored. Then, suddenly he will realize that he is all alone. That is when he lifts his trunk up and starts bellowing and running. On one occasion he gets himself caught on the other side of the cars parked around the waterhole. He runs up and down the line of cars trumpeting at his mother who is browsing amongst the trees. Parked cars need to move deftly out of the way to make way for the anxious mother to retrieve her delinquent son.




I predict that this young elephant is going to be a bit of a handful when he reaches maturity.
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