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Elephant playing with a stick

I heard it before I saw it, a harmonic, almost unnatural sound in the wild. An Elephant was beating a stick against his tusks. For game counting purposes, kilometer markers had been driven in to the ground along a track. These where 2 ft long sticks of dry hardwood, stripped of their bark and with a pointed end. The Elephant had pulled out one of these sticks and was playing with it. He was swinging it about, beating it against his tusks, using it to scratch his belly and generally having fun with it. I was fortunate to be able to follow him and photograph some of this interaction. Each of the sticks driven into the ground had it's kilometer mark stenciled on it. This way I could see that he had carried it already for several kilometers.


The harmonic sound produced by the Elephant knocking the stick against his tusks first drew my attention




He is playing with his stick....


Using it to scratch his belly


Walking around, the Elephant carried the stick in his mouth


and when feeding, he placed it on his head.


The Elephant walked around with his stick for several miles before eventually discarding it.
It is now mine.

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