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Humanity In Elephants
Every wild game safari that I have taken whether it is in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia or even the Asian countries of India, Nepal, Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia’s Borneo, the animal that has fascinated me most has been the elephants.
Living in the jungles amongst the herbivorous and the carnivorous and being the largest of the mammals, elephants, by far, are the most humane of all beings - at times I think they are more humane then humans. I am sure many will agree.
Residing in two continents - Africa and Asia, the distinguishing factors between the two species are in the size and shape of their ears. Asian elephants are smaller than their African brethren and their ears are straight at the bottom, distinct from the large fan-shaped ears of the African species. Only some Asian male elephants have tusks, while African elephants, both males and females, have the ivory - hence are an unfortunate target to ivory lovers and hunters.
Being so huge one would feel that their gestation period would be shorter - but nay, elephants have the longest gestation period of any mammal - 22 months. Females give birth every four to five years. Matriarchs also dominate the complex social structure of elephants and calves, while male elephants tend to live in isolation or in small bachelor groups.

One of the largest part of their body is the tusk which comprises of some 150,000 muscles. Comparison: the whole of the human body has only 600 muscles!
Elephants communicate amongst themselves using sounds which are quite distinct. Some scientist believe that they can even count. But it is the empathy of elephants that stands out and one that makes them seem so alike to humans. When required, they respond to their folks by showing support. Upon seeing the bones or carcass of another elephant, a family will stop and investigate them, even if the dead elephant was unrelated to the group. The ritual includes touching the bones gently with their trunks while remaining very quiet, covering it with leaves and grass. If the dead elephant was one of their own, then the group would stay around the body for days or weeks at a time.

Here is a nice BBC documentary on elephants grieving An interesting event where elephants make a unique spectacular is when they visit the Mfuwe Lodge in South Luangwe in Zambia. They enter the reception area and proudly walk as if they own the lodge. Maybe they do.
The elephant culture is best seen in their natural settings. In Southern Africa the Okavango Delta and Chobe in Botswana - home to over 70,000 elephants, followed by the Addo and Kruger game parks in South Africa. Another major highlight is South Damaraland in Namibia and South Luangwa in Zambia. In East Africa it is the Amboseli at the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro, the Tarangire and Selous Game Parks in Tanzania.
An excellent safari that would cover the world of elephants along with other species including the Big 5 is theĀ Kenya-Tanzania Safari with Victoria Falls. Combine this with ourĀ Botswana Safaris and you will have seen more elephants then most people will ever see.
Our African experts originate from the continent and will be very pleased to recommend the right safari for you. See some of our 2017 scheduled safaris!
Kwaheri (Swahili for Good-bye) from
Chief Explorer and your team at Bestway Tours & Safaris.

 

Posted by
Mahmood Poonja
Chief Explorer

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