Its Monday 20th June 2016 and its all about the elephants

I hope that you are all well and suitably rested after another marvelous weekend and sitting comfortably in preparation for this week’s installment. I am afraid I can’t help myself however hard I try I just can’t resist watching and spending time with elephants. I find them the most wonderful, amazing and fascinating animal and if we are going to be brutally honest most probably the reason I came out to Africa in the first place; as for as long as I can remember I have always adored them. So this week I am going to be totally selfish and indulge myself with an Its Monday 100% talking about them.

Also, we have been seeing a huge amount of elephants in and out of the park and that topped with a day off which Rob and I recently had during which a small foray out gave us plenty of opportunity to photograph them, I just couldn’t stop myself. So here goes with lots and photos of elephants as well as some facts and figures about them to give you all a mini Monday lesson.

Let me just say that none of this is set in stone because so much is unknown about these animals. However, these are some facts that I have gathered from some in the know here.

Elephant Communication: Done in a low frequency sound wave of which the majority is below our hearing spectrum. The “elephant hungry tummy rumble” is the portion of the sound that we can hear. It has been suggested that there are over 23 different vocalisms of which 80% are used exclusively by the cows!

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The temporal gland: A gland which is the least understood and most discussed sign on the elephants amongst guides. It is a gland between the eye and the ear which often leaves a stain on the side of the face. Whilst there is not much information about this, in most books it states that in African elephants it is a secretion related to stress. However, traditionally in Africa people have linked this secretion to male elephants being in musth but then why can elephants clearly not in musth also be seen secreting the fluid from the gland? The Indian elephant also have the gland which has been linked to the musth cycle so why are they different? In some studies of African elephants only 3-4% of the males’ secretions can be linked to the musth cycle so maybe this secretion is a pheromonal secretion linked to another form of communication.

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The mighty trunk: clearly a very complicated instrument which can take youngsters up to 6 months to use them properly. This in turn can also help us to more accurately age a baby. Whilst there are different facts and figures on this here goes with some that we have here. The trunk has 40,000 plus muscles in it and can pick up 1 part in 600,000 in terms of scent.

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You can talk to them: whilst I am not suggesting that you sit down and have a conversation with an elephant it has been noticed by some of our guides that elephants can interpret and understand the human tone of voice. A calming suggestion or a more forceful tone can sometimes have quite a difference on the outcome of a situation.

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The ground pad:
The elephants foot is formed in such a way that they are effectively walking on their tip toes, with a tough fatty part of connective tissue for the sole. This spongy “shock absorber” is what helps elephants move through the bush so quietly. They have 5 toes (not all of which have a toe nail) and the toes are buried inside the flesh of the foot. And lastly the circumference of the forefoot is approximately equal to half the shoulder height.

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So there you have it – I mean if we are being honest about this there is so so so much more that could be brought up but we sadly don’t have all day. I do hope however, that you have enjoyed this as much as I have. Whilst I realize that it is slightly off-piste I thought to myself well why not mix it up a bit! I promise you though I shall get back on track next week and keep you all updated with what is going on in all of the camps including some crazy out of control leopard sightings like 5 in one drive! So between now and then have fun, laugh lots and look after each other.

Ems

 

 

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