August 23, 2010
Elephants are gigantic. That is the first thought that went through my mind when I saw them in the wild. I know in my head that they are big, and I see them in the zoo and say to myself that they are big, but when I saw them in the wild with nothing separating me from them all that went through my mind was: wow these guys are huge! They are also incredibly beautiful. Their eyes are big and brown and their skin is extremely wrinkled. Its amazing that even the baby elephant’s skin is endlessly wrinkled. We were lucky enough to see many elephants. We saw them at each site in different ways. In the Masai Mara we saw them in herds with many tiny babies nursing. The baby elephants only drink milk when they are very young, but they will still go through the motions of picking up the grass and trying to eat it like their mothers- so adorable to watch. In the Serengeti we saw elephants taking mudbaths to cool themselves off and kill parasitic bugs on their hides. We also saw one elephant defend his herd against a pack of encroaching wildebeest, spreading his ears and blowing his trunk to tell them to keep away. In Ngorongoro Crater we saw Baboo an old elephant with incredibly long tusks, a genetic trait that has been almost hunted to extinction by poachers. We also had a crossing of elephants right in front of us, which was a little scary and a lot amazing. Nothing like making you feel very small and insignificant like being stared down by the planet’s largest land mammal. Elephants are being hunted for their tusks by poachers. While it is illegal to kill them poachers are finding craftier ways to do so. Ivory is very popular in China, and as a result Chinese poachers are flooding into Africa offering to build much-needed roads and then using them to transport tusks while some governments look the other way. For more information on Elephants and to see how you can help check out here.