The elephants love playing soccer, and we often arrange friendly games between the herd and the grooms. But while the adults understand that it’s a kicking game, the babies are still convinced that it’s “Aussie rules” football. They’re a lot harder on the soccer balls as a result, because if they’re not stuffing them into their mouths, then they’re standing or diving on the balls to make sure nobody takes their prize. Just like children, the younger members of the herd are not all that keen on sharing.
While they’re still learning the rules of the game we give them homemade soccer balls to play with, as they’re a lot hardier than the real ones. The babies are onto us though, and understand that there’s a difference between their homemade balls and the smart store-bought ones. Keep an eye on them, you’ll see what I mean.
Around the 9 minute mark you’ll notice Zindoga roughhousing with Klaserie. He’s a little bigger than her though, and pretty soon Mom comes rushing in to rescue her little girl. The elephants are extremely well behaved, and will follow all commands to the letter. But should one of their babies be in trouble, all the groom can do is hold on tight, because nothing he does or says at that point will make even the slightest bit of difference.