Updated: Jun 24
In 2016, on a safari in Serengeti National Park, Tanzania, on day 2 of the Safari, the first animal we encountered was herd of industrious African Elephants.
Our jeep was parked by some tall grass and I was observing a group of about 12 elephants displaying commendable teamwork. A bunch of them were moving a dead tree trunk, while a few others were clearing the path. A mama elephant was keeping an eye on a rather energetic calf. They were all in reaching distance of each other in their the division of labour, to come together as a herd in case of any untoward incident. Their dexterity, their ambling yet skilful movements and their gentle, genial demeanour was engrossing. Having seen the giraffes, the zebras, the lions, the hyenas, the hippos, I thought the elephants were the most graceful creatures of Serengeti.
They could see me observing them. I felt their eyes on me sometime, yet they went about their morning business, a deadline to catch, I suppose. When it was time to move on I instinctively put my hand up and waved, involuntarily saying, "Bye-bye, dear elephants!" The elephant closest to me, paused from tugging at the grass and swung it's trunk up in reciprocation.
I was stunned for a minute. Did that just happen?
I had goosebumps on my arms and tears in my eyes, from a rush of emotion.
As the jeep pulled away, I was still processing the connection that I briefly made with the wild. I did not understand what just happened. Yet, it was a very normal gesture. I felt oneness with nature and love for its inhabitants. I thought to myself, since when did we become separate from nature? Weren’t we part of it? When did we leave home and decide not to co-exist?
I have always been scared of animals, and I wish it wasn’t so. My friends know how I would jump on a chair if a pet walked into the room. I’ve been trying to bridge the distance by learning more about animals which fosters respect and empathy.
So this mini series is to get to know the animals around us, the roomies in our home, our Earth.
SOME INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT ELEPHANTS
ELEPHANTS are the largest existing land animals today.
3 species are recognised - African Bush, African Forest and Asian.
Features: A long trunk, tusks, large ear flaps, massive legs, and tough but sensitive skin.
The #tusks, serve both as weapons and as tools for moving objects & digging. The large ear are like fans to maintain the body temperature and to communicate. The pillar-like legs carry their great weight.