Nature, animals, fish and birds. Beautiful, often scary but sometimes amusing and outstanding in their behaviour.
Elephants are the most remarkable creatures, whether Indian, African or even Mamoths. We will begin this subject with three extraordinary photographs.
Believe it or not, a pride of lions will attack baby elephants if they can get them away from the protection of the herd. Elephants know this, so how do you explain this act of kindness? ***
I met my wife in Africa, she was born in a small settlement called Shibani in what was then Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe. As a child she has vivid memories of elephants staggering through the township drunk as a skunk on Marula fruit. They were never threatening to the inhabitants nor did they cause any damage. The whole town would line the streets to watch and laugh at the fantastic beasts as they ambled through to find somewhere shady to sleep it off!
For her 25th birthday I bought my wife a limited edition print of elephants by David Shepherd, the best wildlife artist in Africa. I purchased it from an art gallery in Johannesburg, didn’t tell her what it was, just sent her in and said “Walk around and see if you can find your present”. It didn’t even take 5 minutes and 35 years later it still has pride of place over the fireplace having traveled the world with us.
*** I put this photo on Facebook and there were quite a number of comments about it being “Photoshopped” and while this might be the case, in this instance I don’t think so. It takes a great deal of skill and patience to alter this kind of image. There are three easy (but not necessarily positive) checks to look for:
First: Shadows, are they aligned and consistent?
Second: Everything in Southern Africa is covered in dust, so when an animal puts its foot down there will be a little puff of dust stirred up, moved by any wind and so should match any other animal walking side by side. [You may need a looking glass to check]
Third: They have just come out of the savannah so the grass should be bent or flattened in the direction the animals are traveling.
So, two out of three ain’t bad. It is possible that the photo is genuine, but transposed onto a different location. You be the judge.
There are many examples, photographs, videos and personal testimony of animals going to the aid of another species in trouble. Probably the most famous that I have seen, was a hippopotamus attacking and driving off a crocodile that had snatched a young Impala from the bank of a river. Having chased off the croc, the hippo went back to the antelope and helped it reach safety away from the river.
Question:- Was Darwin right in his summation ‘survival of the fittest’?