Being close to Elephants is very special. I know that for many people it is terrifying. That is the reason why I make sure to keep a ‘comfort distance’ when driving with guests on safari.
But I personally do not mind to be close to these gentle giants as long as it is on their terms. Yesterday evening I was watching a breeding herd of Elephants from quite a distance when they decided to change direction and walk straight towards my vehicle. I set up my iPhone to take some video and I kept shooting with my cameras.
This picture is a closeup (taken with a 70mm lens) of an Elephant bull’s skin as he was passing in touching distance. It was exhilarating and calming at the same time to have these huge creators so very close.
I am planning to post some of the video footage this evening, but I thought you might enjoy this special picture!
Elephants are most impressive. A fully grown adult male will weight around 6,000kg (13,000lbs). The largest recorded specimen (in Angola 1956) was about 11,000kg (24,000lbs).
But for me the most impressive side is their intelligence. Whenever I meet them on Safari their behavior in such encounters sets them apart from all other mammals (with the exception of Primates). They are far less predictable than any other species and therefore have to be treated with a lot of respect and caution.
I met this beautiful specimen a few years ago in Namibia. And I will probably not surprise you when I tell you that I respectfully withdrew from his path 😊
On day 15 of our lock-down I was able to participate in a very special operation. One of our Elephants was limping badly and our Wildlife department together with our veterinarian decided that we had to remove whatever caused the problem.
Once the Elephant bull was darted from a helicopter a large sharp piece of wood was removed from the his food and he was treated with antibiotics to fend of any possible infection.
It was a very quick operation to ensure the well-being of one of our priority species animals.