Elephants are the largest land animals on Earth, able to reach up to 15,000 lbs(the African elephant), so the last to expect from these giants is agility. They’re usually seen as very calm and slow creatures, but as it turns out they can show incredible balance, when searching for food.
Such an impressive scene was recently caught on camera by a wildlife photographer in Zimbabwe’s Mana Pools national park. In a series of stunning photos, a majestic bull African elephant can be seen standing on his his hint legs while trying to reach some branches full of tasty fruits. Though this a pretty unfamiliar behavior for an elephant, when running out of food, these clever mammals can do the impossible to have a bite.
Bobby-Jo Vial, the 36-year-old photographer who captured the incredible scene, said she never seen anything like this throughout her entire career!
“It was a fantastic demonstration of pure strength, balance and agility,” Bobby-Jo Vial said. ” This way he was able to pull down the best branches with ease. It was so amazing … This behaviour happens when food is scarce. At this time of year food is limited in dry areas such as Mana Pools so elephant have to get inventive when trying to find food.”
Apparently, this unusual behavior became pretty common among the elephants that live in the Mana Pools!
“This feeding behaviour is quite unique to African bull Elephant,” the photographer explained. “Mana Pools is one of few places where people can observe this. Many years ago I saw some images coming from Mana Pools of bulls standing up on their hind legs to browse the trees. Everyone was so impressed with this elephant’s balancing act. People have really noticed the gorgeous afternoon light also.”
Sadly, these gentle giants became a threatened species, over the last years, due to poaching. It is estimated that around 10,000 to 15,000 elephants are gone, because of this, every single year. Now, there are less than 350,000 African bush elephants, left in the world.