Elephants are known as calm, placid and a bit slow animals who are kind of lazy and only interested in leisurely strolls around their habitats. But when they desperately need something, these majestic tuskers could be impressively agile too.
Recently, an endearing African bull elephant has been caught standing on his high legs and stretching out his trunk to reach the best branches and grasp some juicy fruits at Mana Pools national park in Zimbabwe, and thankfully talented photographer Bobby-Jo Vial was there to capture the spectacular moment.
As adorable and funny as his action is, it also shows the wonderful strength and balance that we can hardly see in other gentle giants. They can only be seen in the African bull elephant – the largest and heaviest land animal on Earth.
“It was a fantastic demonstration of pure strength, balance and agility. This allowed him to pull down the best branches with ease,” said Bobby-Jo.
And of course, this national park is one of a few places that we can witness such a scene. According to the 36-year-old photographer, it is a behavior they learn by watching other bulls around them, which often happens at certain times of the year when many areas like Mana Pools get drier and these critters must become more inventive due to the scarcity of food.
“This feeding behavior is quite unique to African bull elephant. Mana Pools is one of few places where people can observe this,” she shared.
Even though it was not the first time she had the chance to watch them in action, the wildlife photographer still loved what she saw. Bobby-Jo already has her images featuring in famous publications like The Times, The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, The New York Post, Huffington Post or Africa Geographic, but she still thought of this awe-inspiring series as the best one she had ever taken thorough her career.
“My friends, family and followers have loved the images,” she said. “They are so impressed with this elephant’s balancing act. People have really noticed the gorgeous afternoon light also. Many of my friends and family know how passionate I am about elephants and were very happy for me to observe this with my guests.”
The African bull elephant used to be at the brink of extinction because of illegal hunting. Even though things have been getting better since 2017 due to the lack of demand for Ivory, conservationists insist they still face remarkable threats.