January 14, 2015
Forest Elephant Play Date
- as seen by -Thomas Breuer, Marie Manguette, Jana Robeyst
At the swampy forest clearing of Mbeli Bai in the Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park, northern Congo, forest elephants frequently visit large pools. High mineral concentrations are present in the water and sand here, and elephants can spend considerable amounts of time extracting them.
The clearing also acts as something of a social arena, particularly for males. Male forest elephants are solitary and resources are not easily shared among them. When two are in a pool, one will usually kick the other out or both will show signs of submission leading to tolerance.
And then we have the rare occasions where adult males play.
On October 6, after a couple of hours of peaceful pond sharing, Earnest invited Kali to play. What followed was a 20 minute session that warmed our hearts. The males tusked and trunk-wrestled. Earnest dove in and rolled around in the water while Kali tried to climb on top of him.
It was a joy to see!
Canon EOS D7