During the morning training sessions it is standard practice for the younger elephants to try and return to the stables while the adults are going through their routine. They like to go back inside to see if there is any food left over from breakfast. This started becoming a problem, so we began keeping the outer gate closed in order to keep them from going in.
One morning Limpopo was more determined than ever to get back into the stables. She approached the gate and upon finding it shut, took a step back to consider her options. After giving it some thought she first tried pushing the gate open, and when this didn’t work she put her trunk underneath the gate and stretched it out as far as it would go. This got her closer, but not close enough. She then knelt down on her front knees, lowered her head to the ground and stretched her trunk some more. But still she couldn’t reach the leftovers she so desperately wanted. It really was a case of, so near, but yet so far. Finally she lay down on her belly and tried to squash her head underneath the gate.
That was when she realised that while a camel may well be able to pass through the eye of a needle, a 400kg elephant couldn’t possibly fit through an 8cm gap!
At this point I knew she was moments away from breaking either the gate or fence, so I made her get up and rejoin her peers. Although not before first rewarding her initiative and hard work with extra pellets!
Mambo still enjoys wrestling with the other calves. He is smaller than most of them, which means he often finds himself outnumbered and outclassed. This doesn’t deter him from starting a wrestling match however, he just makes sure that Mom (Lundi) is nearby should he need bailing out.
Little Kumbura’s tusks are becoming more and more visible. For a while they could only be seen when she lifted her head up, but now they are beginning to extend beyond her top lip. She is also keenly aware of the the advantage they present, and is using them more frequently while wrestling or play fighting with the other elephants.
Until next time,