Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Elephants - a non-ruminant hoofed mammal

There is no describing one's first encounter with an elephant in the wild - their natural habitat - unpredictable, determined, protective, powerful, and yet gentle animals.   It is certainly a time when one tends to feel insignificant!

We were convinced that this elephant was communicating with us.  He was a young bull that seemed to be leaving a few times but then would change his mind, turn around to look at us and return - stayed by the tree as long as we stayed in the channel. 

This elephant kept looking at us, making eye contact, as we quietly sat on the boat in the river not far from where he was standing. He would start to leave and then come back as though he wasn't yet finished with us yet, as though he wanted to know more about us, to communicate further. It was one of those animal-human/cross species moments when both sides are wondering what the other side is thinking. He never made any aggressive moves, nor did we, until he finally decided he had had enough and slowly lumbered back into the bush. I could have stayed there much longer just looking at him and being "wow'ed" by his grandeur, the largest living land mammal on Earth.

One of the things that intrigued us was the thousands of butterflies we saw on safari.
Pretty little gold and black butterflies, white butterflies everywhere! This is the time of year that their presence is most obvious and they had a grand fondness and penchant for "elephant pies". Mmmmmmm....

Notice the lifted leg and the ears held back...not a good sign from an elephant!  It was time for us to move on!  But, wait... notice all the butterflies?!

So...I just tried uploading more elephant photos and was told that I had reached my allowed capacity for photos in general - elephants or anything else.  Doesn't seem fair, does it?!

I will have to see what my next step will be...  Stay tuned!


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