If you have ever been to a circus you might have seen elephants doing all sorts of tricks, one of which might be balancing on an object like a ball or step. This is a cruel and unnecessary act but it does show how agile these animals can be and how great their balancing skills are. Elephants in the wild also use sophisticated balancing skills to feed on high branches, walk along narrow pathways, move from one area to the next or just to be silly!
Wild Elephant Balancing Behaviour
Our photo of the week was taken by ranger Joné Haesslich when she and her guests were out on safari watching a herd of elephants. A sub-adult bull decided to break down a big branch and block the road. Perhaps to show his strength to the ladies in the herd! When the bull moved off the big branch gave some of the younger elephants in the group a new toy to play with. The youngster in the photo is showing off its balancing skills and getting quite an ego boost from all the oohs and aahs from the guests watching this performance. This performance was followed by a number of young calves trying to balance too but without much success. The calves ended up playing with sticks instead.
Elephant Extreme Feeding
At Kariega we have observed older bull elephants standing on their back legs to try and reach tasty leaves and fruits. One of their favourites is the fig trees for both the leaves and fruit when in season. A once in a lifetime sight for sure!