feeling tiny… Serengeti Ndogo, Mount Meru, Arusha National Park, Tanzania, April 2013
coming back to our camp we realize that we are surrounded by elephants. four clans. it seems they have a nocturnal meeting right next to our tents…
it’s full moon. lucky us. we can observe them quite nicely from the roof of our car. huge males even fight with each other. one can hear their tusks banging together over and over… quite impressive!
Ann decides to sleep in the car. I am confident that they are too busy with each other and won’t explore our camp. So Jack and I sleep in our tents… I feel tiny, though. very tiny.
but I can fall asleep quite easily… until a very loud trumpeting sound wakes me up…
honestly, this was the first time in my life that I was trembling. my hands shake while crawling slowly out of the tent. I have left my clothes on that night. and when I look at Jack he has decided to do the same. staying close to the ground we peek to get their proximity to us. so close.
but the elephants just move on slowly and peacefully… and I calm down easily while watching these graceful animals passing. chewing happily on the lush foliage.
next morning, the rangers told us that the females are in heat at the moment… I was curious and looked up some interesting research:
“The one most distinctive thing about an estrus call of female elephants is that it is a little bit longer and repeated at a higher rate than other calls. Bulls recognize this as an estrus call and they respond to it by going on a direct bee-line.”
Earlier research by Professor O’Connell-Rodwell showed that the bulls in musth use a kind of “triangulation” calculation to discover where the female on heat was calling from.
They position their trunk on the floor and appear to work out the position by comparing seismic vibrations from the sound between it and their front feet.”