Visiting the "Mother City" and more...

Visiting the "Mother City" and more...

Monday, July 5, 2010

Big Thinkers

Elephants are amongst the world's most intelligent species. With a mass just over 5 kg (11 lb), elephant brains are larger than those of any other land animal. A wide variety of behaviors, including those associated with grief, learning, mimicry, art, play, a sense of humor, altruism, use of tools, compassion, self-awareness, memory and possibly language.

Well,Tanja and I had the opportunity to visit the the National Addo Elephant Park for a day. This will be a day, that I will never forget. While traveling through this park with our personal guide Etta, a conservationist that owned the Dung Beetle B&B. The education of this outstanding land mass, of a park started with our breakfast. Etta encouraged us to eat the little shrubs that she had cut from her garden and adorned our plates of eggs and kudo sausages.

As we munched, she told us how this "speck boom" what we call "jade plant," is used by the elephants and the local people when they have trouble producing breast milk. Very cool eh?
We thought the same.

Tanja wanted to know why elephants were so fat, being that they are truly only vegetarians.? Well, of course what other answer seems fitting is that they are not fat at all, "They are just Big Boned."

At times, we saw scores of them in little family units and bachelor pods as well. Most impressively we saw a big male in heat that deemed the road his for some 15-20 mins.
Because elephants are so closely knit and highly matriarchal, a family can be devastated by the death of another (especially a matriarch) and some groups never recover their organization. We got a chance to see that at this park... What a special day it turned out to be.

I hope these pics do the gentleness of these animals some justice.


Molly said...

AMAZING!!! You two are so blessed to have this experience, and I am blessed by being able to live it through your blog! :) Keep it coming with the videos, those are my favorite. Stay safe, family.

Kirsten and Bobs World said...

I so love Elephants. The only time they are really dangerous is when they feel threatend. I love the Baby Elephant. I hope that they do not killed anymore as they used to for their long teeth. Iknow it is illegal in Germany to sell jewlery made out of the teeth and to bring into the Country!

Sabine said...

I looove your blog and all the information you put out there. Learning truly never stops! Ezra is having such a good time looking at all the pictures. He really enjoyed the wonderful rhino video! Thanks for letting us learn with you!

micaela said...

Finally!!! after 2 hours of struggling with this blogging thing I am able to write something....We love your pictures!!!the elephants look so amazing, Carolina is also loving your blog. What a trip. We're dying to see you.
Micaela and Jeff

Tanja said...

we have lots of stories to tell once we come back. It is truly an amazing experience on so many diferent levels...better and completely diferent then we had anticipated. All the reading and gathering of information about South Africa did not prepare us for this.