Category: Elephant

A recently born elephant calf gets some help from it’s mother, who pushed the baby along with her trunk while the calf held it’s trunk above the water.

A young bull elephant charges a buffalo which quickly got out of the way.

Two baby elephants, no more than a few months old, get in a little cuddle time under the watchful eyes of their mothers.

Even from a 50 meters away, this matriarch of the herd was not satisfied and made it known with her ear flapping and trunk waving.  I moved further up the dirt road to give her more space to safely cross with her baby and the rest of the  herd.

After taking a deep breath the young bull dunked his head under the water and rolled up onto his back.  With his feet straight up into the air, he rolled back and forth as if he was using the bottom to scratch his back.

After fully coating himself in mud, this young bull elephant rolled himself up onto his feet before leisurely getting up to rejoin the rest of the bachelor herd. A few minutes later about 10 adult females and their calves emerged from the dense forest to have their turn at the watering whole.  In the course of about an hour over 30 elephants stopped by the watering hole for some refreshment and play time. It was amazing to sit and watch them without them having a care in the world that we were there.

Two huge bull elephants cross the road in front of us.  The rental car could have driven between their legs without touching them (although I wouldn’t recommend that you try!). The bull in the back was ancient as you can see by the length of his tusks, which grow throughout their lives.  He also had very significant foot problems, especially on the left rear leg. He gingerly made his way across the road and down the slight decline. Foot problems in elephants are well documented in captivity but recent reports indicate that they are also a major cause of disease in wild elephants. In captivity, elephants receive daily foot care to maintain their feet in good condition and to recognize problems early. In the wild minor infections will heal on their own but this male had a deep infection in the left rear inner toe with a significant portion of the tissue missing which was obviously quite painful for him. Over time the infection will reach the bone causing osteomyelitis and could lead to the eventual demise of this magnificent animal.

Amboseli is synonymous with elephants.  And while the elephants my look the same to the casual observer, every elephant in Amboseli has a name and can be identified by the researchers studying them.  The Jane Goodall of the African elephant world is Cynthia Moss. She has been studying the elephants of Amboseli since 1972 and formed the Amboseli Trust for Elephants ( which has resulted in a much greater understanding of these amazing animals and helped protect them and their natural habitat.

These two elephants had just finished dusting themselves with dirt prior to heading back towards Mt. Kilimanjaro. With no appreciable rain for over two years, the elephants have to travel long distances to find food and water. Thankfully, a few months after I had visited the park the rains finally came and almost instantly the land was transformed from a desert into a lush green savannah.

The old matriarch of the herd brings up the rear as two huge African elephants make there way across the dusty, dry earth of Amboseli National Park. I lost count of the number of dead wildebeest and zebra that had been affected by the drought. Once elephants reach about 5 years of age they become extremely drought tolerant. However, adult females will stop cycling until they build up enough fat reserves to support a pregnancy and often the young elephants will die during a drought due to decreased fat content of the mother’s milk and lack of vegetation. The adults are much more capable of traveling long distances to find food and watering holes but instead of moving in large groups, they break off into smaller groups in search of food and very little time is spent socializing and playing because all of their time needs to be spent searching and eating food to sustain themselves. The average adult African elephant consumes about 400lbs of vegetation a day!

There isn’t much that is better than relaxing at the end of a long day and watching a beautiful sunset, unless of course you are in Africa, where the sunsets seem so much more intense.  Add in a majestic elephant and this was the perfect ending to an awesome day of game viewing.