Elephant Rules

Elephant Rules

A new herd had been spotted and I got news that the herd was out in the open. I rushed to the spot as soon as I could and found the herd in a swamp surrounded by tea. It was 5 pm and the sun was going down casting a blanket of gold on everything it touched. The elephants were aware of our presence but seemed relaxed. This herd had 3 calves. The male calf seemed to be the oldest and was full of life.

The herd in a small swamp amidst Tea.

An adult elephant scratches herself behind the ear.

An adult female with the smallest calf in the herd following her closely.

Elephants are social animals and have strong bonds. The adult female watches calves play.

The young male calf got a little too excited and tried to mount the smaller calf. I was surprised to see the adult who was looking away, suddenly kick the calf with her hind leg. How did she know what he was upto?

The adult female kicks out at the young male calf.

 The calf does not give up and tries his luck again.

His antics caught the attention of the few other family members who were close by.

 He tried his luck again.

This time a calf that was close by lunged towards him. It reacted much before the adults did. Are the elephants communicating to split them up?

 The adults reacted soon and pushed him away from the little calf.

Play mounting is common among young ones and is a process of learning adult behavior during their course of development. Sometimes, when calves are harassed by older ones, adults will try to safe guard the young ones.

 This young elephant did not participate in the disciplining session. He was happy stripping away the bark.

The calves bonding again. This time the adults kept an extra eye on him.

The sun was going down and the elephants decided to leave. A large adult female took the lead and checked the air. They knew people were around. They slowly walked away  with the calves between their legs. They went around a hillock and went out of sight. It is amazing to see how the elephants have a strict code of conduct.

That ended another fascinating evening today at Valparai.

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