Elephants Greeting

Elephants are highly social animals. In this series of photos, two herds (or two groups of the same herd) that had been separated for a while came together. They engaged in a rather elaborate greeting ritual. It could not have been more like two groups of humans coming together after a long separation (well, except for the important role the trunks play).

The older females, who hold the real power in the herd, greeted each other gently, touching and entwining their trunks. Each separate age group went through similar rituals with their peers. Younger males, often as rambunctious as human teenagers, did the same but also engaged in some spirited wrestling as well – which serves to establish hierarchies of dominance in the years to come. Even the youngest members of the herd were included.

I enjoyed the elephants so much that there are two other pages devoted to them. You can check out the main Elephant page or, for a look at the sadder side of Africa, there are photos of a dead elephant that we came across in Chobe National Park in Botswana (these pictures will not be to everyone's taste).