I have always been completely fascinated by Elephants, and my very first wildlife encounter on my first trip to Tanzania was a surprising close encounter with a herd of them, an experience I will never forget.
I feel it is an absolute privilege to see these enormous, intelligent & complex creatures in the wild.
What I find truly remarkable about these animals is their extremely complex social structures and their incredible empathic ability.
Naturalists and scientists who have had years of numerous observations of wild elephants suggested that they were some of the most intelligent animals on the planet. They remembered the locations of water holes hundreds of kilometres apart, returning to them year after year. They fashioned twigs into switches to shoo flies and plugged drinking holes with chewed up balls of bark. They clearly formed strong social bonds and even mourn their dead.
Scientists living among herds of wild elephants have long observed awe-inspiring cooperation between family members. Related elephant mothers and their children stay together throughout life in tight-knit clans, caring for one another’s children and forming protective circles around calves when threatened by lions (or even poachers). Elephant herd members talk to one another with a combination of gentle chirps, thunderous trumpets and low-frequency rumbles undetectable to humans, as well as nudges, kicks and visual signals such as a tilt of the head or flap of the ear. They deliberate among themselves, make group decisions and applaud their achievements.
I have been very privileged to have had many amazing encounters with these special animals in their own beautiful backyard, each encounter with its own unique story that only I and my fellow safari friends will know! These one of a kind experiences are my reason for loving Africa so much – its incredible unrehearsed way of surprising and amazing you at every turn – and these remarkable Elephants will forever have a very special place in my heart.
By Lindsey Jerram, Remarkable Africa Safari Specialist, firstname.lastname@example.org
Photos courtesy Wilderness Safaris