Seeing newborn animals find their place in the world for the first time is a truly awe-inspiring experience. Ayesha Cantor recently visited Addo Elephant National Park and snapped a precious ellie calf stumbling along with the herd en route to a watering hole.
‘It was a pretty last minute decision to pop out to Addo having seen the weather forecast was to be a 30°C day, which means it’s likely that ellies in their numbers would be streaming in to the waterholes,’ said Cantor.
‘Usually, elephants come in to the waterhole either in family groups or as single bulls. We noticed two cows and the tiniest of calves coming in to Hapoor from the horizon. Little thing stumbling to keep up as their pace increased the closer they got. Exhausted, it collapsed at mom’s feet as she reached the waterhole and stretched down to quench her thirst. As the sides are quite steep, she [the mother] had to keep kicking back to prevent the little one from sliding down into the dangerous and deep waters below,’ Cantor continued.
‘It’s likely, going on the small stature of the mom, that this was her first calf and that she had the matriarch in attendance, by her side, to make sure all went well. The calf was probably born within the last 24 hours. After mom had had her fill, the calf had her turn and filled up regularly from the milk bar over the hours we spent at the waterhole. Never gets old, ey!’
‘There is nothing more magical than being surrounded by chilled elephant of all shapes and sizes for hours on end. So many new calves at the moment, one doesn’t know where to point the camera at times, always something going on!’ Cantor concluded.
Take a look at these stunning shots:
Images: Ayesha Cantor