The Lives of Elephants
Quiet, nearly silent, footfalls with just a whisper of contact with the sand; a group of elephants moves single-file and purposefully along a well-trodden path. The multi-tonne giants step swiftly but always carefully, their footprints in a surprisingly narrow line for an animal of such immense size, their body weight skillfully balanced above pillars of strong bone. Feeding an enormous metabolic furnace, their perpetual foraging takes them from one locality to another, traveling an average of 10km for up to three-quarters of every day in the search for the best parts of the most abundant plants. Leaves of succulent green or drying yellow grass, vines, herbs and flowers, fruits in season, twig tips of shrubs, bark from favoured trees, stems, roots... all available and necessary in different places at different times of year. Plucking, tearing, snapping, shaking, all require the deployment of trunk or tusk or foot, separately in combination, to pick and process the multitude of different food items.