There is no doubt that one of the mightiest creatures that walks the planet is the elephant. Nothing else looks even vaguely similar or comes close in terms of size, except perhaps some of the giants of the oceans.
I like to think I have an empathy with elephants, but if I am honest, I can really only claim to be someone who just likes them – a lot. They seem to be a mostly placid species and generally mind their own business – leaving other creatures well alone. Slow to anger, but very formidable when stirred to annoyance. They are very strongly bound in their family groups and have an organised, disciplined social structure. It seems to me that humans could learn a lot about getting along with each other from elephants.
When driving through an area where these creatures live, wise people are careful to keep a respectful distance. And believe me, when one a big grey shape suddenly steps out from behind a scrappy little bush (how did it manage to stay hidden with so little cover?), you waste no time in getting out of the way! (I was quite unaware of the extent of my reversing skills until caught in a very narrow bush lane early one morning. Going around a corner, I suddenly came face to face with a herd of elephants (only metres away) coming towards me! My passengers were highly entertained by my antics as I frantically backtracked out of the “tad too close” zone! It was a memorable event and one we still laugh about )
Not that elephants are generally a problem, but they are wild and very, very big up close – even a large vehicle suddenly feels flimsy and inconsequential!
There is a beautiful sculpture of a full sized elephant at Olifants Rest Camp in Kruger. Standing next to this statue, it is possible to understand just how big these amazing creatures are. I can only just reach the bottom of its ears!
Ailsa, from Where’s my backpack, has posed a challenge of sculpture this week. This seemed like a good opportunity to pay tribute to one of the most delightful creatures that lives – the mighty elephant.
Have you ever had an encounter with an elephant in the wild?