HE ain’t heavy, he’s my bubba. A recent incident in the Addo Elephant National Park has highlighted the extraordinary intelligence and caring nature of elephants.
Port Elizabeth resident Ian McFarlane described how he and his wife, Debbie, were visiting the park with friends. They had stopped at Hapoor Dam where a herd of elephants was congregated and, between the forest of pachyderm legs, they spotted a calf, he said.
“Suddenly the herd became very agitated, poohing and trumpeting.”
An honorary ranger on the scene diagnosed the uproar: the calf had fallen into the dam. The McFarlanes and their friends drove around to the other side of the dam to get a better vantage point and got a clear view of the drama which ensued.
“The calf was battling to get out but it didn’t have a hope of doing so because of the steep slippery bank. One of the adults, we think the mother, was reaching down with her trunk. The other adults were bunched around her, like they were offering moral support.
“Just when it looked like she had succeeded in her efforts, the calf slipped back into the water.
“After that, you could almost read the mother’s mind,” Ian said. “She looked at the marooned calf, and decided that it was time for plan B.”
Lowering herself into the water, she waded up next to her calf, who for a scary moment disappeared completely under the water. Then, coaxing and nudging, she eventually got it up the bank and onto dry land.”
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