One of the most exciting things we watched
on this trip took only about twenty seconds. We were watching an elephant
and our guide said he was looking for elephant palm nuts to eat. In the
Delta, there are lots of palms--short African wine palms that are very full and
make neat places for lions to hide under and the very tall elephant palms.
The latter's nut is just smaller than a golf ball and the inside is white and so
hard that it's called vegetable ivory and is often carved into decorative things
as ivory would be. This seed has to pass through an elephant before it
will germinate and grow. One often sees dead palms with no tops among the
others and many birds make nesting cavities in the bare trunks.
Our guide suddenly said, "Watch
this!" The elephant sort of moved his back legs back to brace himself
and then put his tusks on either side of the tree.
He then proceeded to rock the tree back
and forth and really got it swinging. It was whipping probably 10
feet/3+meters to either side. He really got his body into it also.
The tree was thrashing to and fro so hard and fast that it began to
We were not prepared for this 'camera
wise' so the best action isn't shown even putting both Frank's and my pics
together. But I hope you can get the idea. This destruction of the
tree probably only took about a dozen good whips. The strength of
the elephant was very obvious! Now we know why there are dead palms among
the live ones.
He then calmly began eating the fronds he
had flung around as though nothing had occurred.
You can see by the smooth, almost
callous-like place on his trunk between the tusks that he has done this