Elephants are often seen as calm, placid, and somewhat lazy animals that enjoy leisurely strolls around their habitats. However, when they need something urgently, these majestic elephants can demonstrate impressive agility.
Recently, an endearing African bull elephant was captured on camera standing on its hind legs and stretching out its trunk to reach the best branches and grasp some juicy fruits at Mana Pools National Park in Zimbabwe. Talented photographer Bobby-Jo Vial was there to capture the spectacular moment.
This adorable and funny action also demonstrates the wonderful strength and balance that can hardly be seen in other gentle giants. It can only be witnessed 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.
Of course, this national park is one of the few places where such a scene can be witnessed. According to the 36-year-old photographer, this behavior is learned 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 elephants. Mana Pools is one of the few places where people can observe this,” she shared.
Even though this wasn’t the first time she had the chance to watch them in action, the wildlife photographer still loved what she saw. Bobby-Jo’s images have been featured in famous publications like The Times, The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, The New York Post, Huffington Post, and Africa Geographic. However, she still considers this awe-inspiring series as the best one she has ever taken throughout 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 also noticed the gorgeous afternoon light. 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 on the brink of extinction because of illegal hunting. Although things have been getting better since 2017 due to the lack of demand for ivory, conservationists insist that they still face remarkable threats.