Unlike their reputation, elephants are actually very quiet much of the time -- a somewhat surprising realization in the field, given they are the largest of all living land animals. It is more common to hear the breaking of tree limbs and the uprooting of grasses than to actually hear any sound from the elephant itself. This was certainly the case with this bull: he was busy tearing large branches off of acacia trees and uprooting smaller acacias for his dinner, and that was all we could hear. Not because they were such loud sounds, but because everything else was so quiet. As he ate, he watched us with almost as much curiosity as we had for him. His soulful eyes seemed to carry the weight of the world within them, and his demeanor brought to mind an elephant version of the old saying, "Walk softly, and uproot a big stick."
June 13th, 2009
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