|"Don't you think you've given those elephants at the waterhole enough attention, already? I'm over here. I've been watching you for ages. If you follow me, I'll lead you to my friends..."
|"Come along then! I haven't got all day, you know!"
|"OK! We've arrived! Get those cameras ready..."
|"Oh, guys...don't be shy! These humans are quite friendly and they only want to take your picture!"
|"That's right...stand together nicely! Look this way!"
|"Lovely, lovely! We're all done now...you may continue on your way!"
I felt it only fair allowing these gentle giants to claim a little limelight at the beginning of this entry, as the elephants we'd been observing had had a fairly good innings themselves...however, there were a couple of very interesting facts I'd hoped to share with you before the giraffe interrupted us...so, if you'll bear with me a moment longer, could we please return to the waterhole and elephants, and pick up from where we'd left off...
|Oh, look! While we were off viewing giraffe, the elephants brought their calves down to drink. If we hadn't returned, we'd have missed seeing this!
And...Oh, my Goodness! Do you see what I've spotted, over on the far side of the bank???
|A family of crocodiles, sunbathing!
|Looks like this one's on the move...quick, focus those cameras! I think we're in for some action over there!
|Yes, that big boy is definitely on his way down to the water's edge...
|I don't know about you, but I'm jolly glad we're well out of his reach on this side of the bank!
|Plop! And there he goes, into the water!
After that interesting interlude, I really do want to get back to what it was I'd wanted to tell you...lest some other visitor arrives to steal the show!
|No, no! We've seen you today already, Mrs G. Please go away, now! I'm trying to tell my guests a story!!
We recently watched a segment in a popular, local documentary programme (Carte Blanche), in which we learnt that elephants possess a sense of smell 14 times more acute than that of dogs and 28,000 times stronger than humans. This ability is currently being harnessed by an ex-Zimbabwean farmer, Rory Hensman and his son Sean, who now reside in South Africa, having lost their wildlife farm in Zimbabwe during Robert Mugabe's illustrious 'land-grab'.
|An elephant calf being led to the waterhole.
Using gentle, loving methods, based on a system of reward whilst harnessing the natural behaviour of the elephants, Rory and Sean have successfully trained their current, rescued herd (these elephants were to have been culled!) to sniff out landmines and track poachers over distances as great as 16 kilometres, all with a 100% success rate.
|According to Rory, elephants are incredibly intelligent and can learn up to a 100 verbal commands and over 1,000 words!
Additionally, the saying, 'an elephant never forgets', has now also been put to the test by this father/son team and proven. We observed a young, female elephant being introduced to the Carte Blanche presenter, Derek Watts. The trainer clearly said the name of the person being introduced ('This is Derek'), and the elephant smelt him. Eight hours later, the elephant had no difficulty in recognising and identifying Derek, when asked to return an item of clothing belonging to him. Derek was standing in a group with three others, all of whom were introduced to the elephant that day. The elephant unhesitatingly walked up to Derek and offered him his 'missing' item of clothing. This was put to the test even further by asking the elephant to, 'give Derek's shoe to Sue', another of the people the elephant had met earlier that day. Again, this was performed in an instant! In other words, the elephant is able to unfailingly recall both the name and face of any human to whom he has been introduced, and match this to the smell of any item of clothing belonging to the person, and given to the elephant to be returned to the correct owner. The elephant is able to hold this memory for up to 26 months after just a single introduction. Uncanny!!
|An elephant never forgets!!!
Please don't YOU forget to return for the next part of this excursion :)