June 4, 2014
It’s All in the Twirl
- as seen by -Sandy Oduor
Eating spaghetti with a fork may not be an easy experience, especially on the first try. As you twirl your fork round and round, stubborn strands of pasta dangle off the end or fall back onto the plate.
This is the same predicament that baby elephants go through, especially during the weaning period. After relying entirely on their mother’s milk, young calves are suddenly introduced to new foods like grass and shrubs. They must learn to use their trunk as a utensil for the first time.
I recently witnessed a calf struggling to learn how to graze using its trunk. Every time it tried to grasp a bunch of grass, the pieces would dangle and fall. After two unsuccessful attempts, the baby elephant approached its mother and touched her trunk gingerly, a clear sign of communication. Suddenly, I saw the mother cutting grass with her toe nails. She started collecting piles of already chopped of grass, while the young elephant stood by patiently.
Soon after, the baby elephant began rolling the stack of grass with the help of his mother and was finally able to eat.