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Video Moment : Baby Elephant Meets Elephant Clans The Long Walk Home BBC Earth Part 6

“A mother and her child walk ancestral elephant highways to meet five thousand elephants at an extraordinary meeting of elephant families.” Across the great Kalahari Desert these elephants roam as they have for generations in search of water holes and abundant grasses, trees and shrubs so that they may eat. The following is transcribed from Baby Elephant meets Elephant Clans | The Long Walk Home | BBC Earth.

 

Narrator:

(elephants walking in forested area)

Older wiser members of the herd are effectively passing on a detailed body of knowledge, the pathways to food and water and the timing through the seasons which have allowed that particular family to survive here over many generations.

(the all terrain vehicle is seen following, on a nearby route, toward the elephants’ destination)

“The collars are giving Michael greater insight into elephant behavior and in some cases leading him to new discoveries.

(elephant researchers put GPS tracking collars around the necks of some elephants to gain knowledge from them)

“A GPS message takes him to a place he’s never been to before, a waterhole right in the middle of the Kalahari.

(elephants trumpeting in the distance as Michael arrives in his Jeep to observe the gathering of elephants)

“Dozens of major elephant highways seem to converge here from every direction.”

(elephant herds slowly walking toward each other)
(camera pans to Michael observing the elephants through the lens of his field glasses as he is standing next to his Jeep)

 

Image: CC Flickr by Marthade Jong Lantink : similar African elephant family with baby elephants

 

Michael:
“It is so extraordinary. I have never seen so many elephants around the small little path, I mean all around us here.”

(Michael gestures with his hand as camera pans behind him, showing the elephants close by)

“And there are more elephants about 200 to our right, we are just surrounded by them.”

(Elephants rumble loudly)

Narrator:
In the middle of this extraordinary gathering of 5000 elephants is the one who has inadvertently led him there.

(camera pans back behind Michael as he looks through his field glasses)

Michael:
“There I can see (unintelligible) Bok Lee” (name of elephant).

(Michael points toward an elephant amongst the herd)

“She… Right there, right there. ”

(elephants rumble)

Hey big girl. She’s got a calf, she’s got a calf, she’s got a calf. Man, that is so cool and she has… we would never have found this place had it not been for her. I mean here (unintelligible) Chernumba right in the middle of the elephant heartland. Aye, she must have journeyed hundreds of kilometers to get here.”

(elephants heard trumpeting as little elephant is observed happily at play at the edge of the water hole)

“Hey, brilliant man.”

Narrator:
Bontle and all the other Matriarchs have ignored good water holes nearby. What has drawn so many families to this particular path?

(elephants rumble and trumpet )

Michael:
“This has to be more than just a coincidence.”
(close up of elephant herd walking by)

“I began to realize that there must be a deliberate intention to this congregation, that not only do they all know how to get here but also the timing of the others arrival. It seems that they are thinking beyond their own family experience and suggests an elephant intellect far more complex than we might have imagined.”

Narrator:
“Mike believes that they may be directly communicating and sharing information or networking in some way that may have long-term survival benefits.”

(another herd of elephants rumble at a gathering by the water hole)

He thinks this kind of clan group might be an important event in an elephant’s life when bonds are reinforced between family groups, (elephants drinking using their trunks and elephants rumbling) vital decisions are made and survival strategies are shared.

(elephants greeting each other, trunk to trunk)

 

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Kalahari Desert wiki

Image: Image CC Flickr by Marthade Jong Lantink similar African elephant family with baby elephants

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