The elephant’s trunk (On behalf of Corinne)

Early morning is the best time to see cats and this morning was no exception. There, sneaking and slinking through the tall golden grass, was the largest cat in Africa. Smooth yellow fur lined the lioness and her muscles could be seen as she lifted each arm. Surprisingly it appeared that she was alone and so were we – the lone vehicle to witness her silent wanderings.

Elephants can be seen anytime of day and usually don’t require too much searching. Large grey blobs they speckle the landscape on many hillsides and plains throughout the Mara. Each herd has its treasured newborn – the tiny elephant whose head barely reaches over the long grass. Elephant calves are always fascinating to watch. Just like young children who stare curiously at their own hands as they absent-mindedly scratch themselves, it takes elephant babies a while to learn how to use their trunks. I once watched a young calf struggle again and again to pick up a single strand of grass. Someone once told me that elephants have more muscles in their trunk than we do in our entire bodies. This gives them both incredibly power and dexterity and an adult elephant can easily pick up both huge fallen logs and a tiny piece of hair. But this baby couldn’t figured out how to do either. Again and again he looped his long nose around the grass and then as he lifted his trunk would slowly loose grip and end up with nothing. After many attempts, he knelt down on his front legs like a warthog and tried to pry the grass from the ground using his teeth. Again the trunk thwarted him, preventing his mouth from reaching the base of the grass. Despite his determination, the little elephant had failed to remove a single piece of food and he finally went over to his mother for some reassurance and milk.

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