At the Foot of Giants

Momentarily his trunk snorkelled to catch our odour, he now knew we were there. We were different – no gun, no fidgeting legs to take flight, no tangible fear. Did he sense this? He fed closer and closer in a deliberate straight line towards us. At about 10 metres from us he lifted his gigantic head to cast his amber eyes more clearly upon us. The blazing blue sky behind him was larger than the frame of him but somehow what he presented made the sky fade away insignificantly. He stopped feeding to edge closer, stretching out his muscled trunk before him as if to reach for my shoe. Time stood still as we shared a feeling of ‘’I am because of what we all are.” Ubuntu is the word, the African philosophy, the personification of this connection and the power of this shared vulnerability.
Thank you to Alan McSmith for sharing many years of guiding experience.
Text and video: Michelle Henley
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The Story of Fortunate the Elephant

Elephants Alive has been collaring elephants since 1998. We follow elephants as one of our primary research objectives. After almost 200 collaring operations our experienced team ensure minimal risk to the animal. From the air, the elephant is darted with a dart gun, handled by an experienced wildlife veterinarian. As soon as the elephant falls asleep our team fits the collar, takes biosamples and morphometric measurements. A drug reversal is then administered and our new grey-clad intelligence agent peacefully walks off the stage. Carrying with him/her a high-tech collar allowing us a unique window into the elephant’s life!
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