Come play with me ?

8. December 2021

When I was a baby elephant I lived with my mother, sisters, cousins and aunts, all teaching me lovingly what I needed to know to become a grown-up elephant. In this protected environment I never understood why growing-up is such a big-deal.

But once I got to be almost fully grown the matriarch of our family made me understand that the time had come for me to leave our herd to discover other solitary male friends. All my aunts, cousins sisters and my mother seemed to agree. So I left with a heavy heart in search of other lonely male elephants.  To find compliant elephant playmates turned out to be more difficult than I had imagined. So I started to look for other creatures.

While still with my family I sometimes observed a curious species of frightened primates, touring our habitat to gawk at us from some sort of mechanical contraption.  Mechanical, because when I attempted to climb on it, the occupants got very quiet and the contraption moved backwards without any sign of visible  feet.

Elephant in South Africa asking visitors for a ride

So I decided to wander over to their habitat. Being very nice and playful should encourage them to have some fun with me. Reaching the human primate habitat, sitting in the midst of our reserve, I noticed two specimen resting on something that at least in part  could have come from a tree. As I approached the first one carefully fanning my ears in a friendly manner, being happy that they did not run away, I came close enough to say hello by touching the knee of one of them with my trunk. At first it returned my touch, but rather than wanting to play it pushed my trunk away and left.

But there was still the other human animal, a bit smaller but still sitting where I first discovered both of them. Rather than trying a friendly touch with my trunk, I decided to examine this primate’s very curious feet. I wrapped my trunk around one of the foot-pads and low and behold, it detached itself from the rest of the leg. I grabbed his leg again to see whether that might come off as well. Alas it did not, but holding on to the leg I pulled the human primate off the wooden platform still hoping that we could play together. However as a soon as I let go of the leg it also walked away.

I picked the foot-pad off the ground to take it with me as a trophy from an interaction with a human animal. Maybe this trophy could impress other male elephants in search of fun and companionship.