A mighty bull elephant

A huge bull elephant comes for a drink at a waterhole in Madikwe Game Reserve. Male elephants are generally solitary creatures, although friendships between groups of males have also been documented.
For one month of the year, bull elephants go into the condition of musth. During this time the bull produces 40 to 60 times more testosterone than usual. It makes him aggressive and unpredictable, and the best advice for other elephants and humans alike is to give the bull lots of space.
Musth is similar to what happens to Popeye when he downs a can op spinach. In musth, a male that is way down the ladder can challenge a dominant bull and win. When a bull elephant has broken tusks like this one, it may well be the result of a fight with another elephant!

Elephant

A majestic elephant bull in profile. Because of the threat of poaching, the number of really old and big male elephants has dwindled in the past decades. It is a joy to see them – and always a little scary too, I must say! The photo was taken in Pilanesberg National Park in South Africa. In this edit, the background is evenly coloured, and the shape of the elephant is stylized.

If you think this would look great on your wall: prints are available here.

Elephant on the road

This morning, according to the news, a herd of eight elephants on the loose near Pretoria are being led back into the game reserve they escaped from. I can’t imagine the sight of a herd of elephants trudging to the suburbs…

We met this bull on a recent visit to Pilanesberg National Park. In the bushes on either side of the road there the herd with several baby elephants was foraging. The aggressive bull would not let any car come close, let alone pass. We didn’t even attempt to get nearer. Elephants are said to be ‘gentle giants’, but to me they are the most scary animals one can encounter on a safari!