Still Learning To See

The glory of elephants

Seeing elephants was certainly a highlight of my trip to Botswana!


To see not just one or two but whole groups of them, up close and often, was  astonishing.

Africa-4260While I don’t pretend to understand all the dynamics involved, there were obvious family groups including many young animals.

Africa-4266What remarkable textures the skin has!


Thanks to my friends at Fluke I was able to take a thermal imaging camera on the trip. Elephants, in particular, have extremely complex adaptations with their environment. Though I’m tempted to interpret this image, I resist given those complexities and my lack of expertise about them.


Watching—and hearing and smelling!—the animals dusting themselves or taking mud baths was literally the thrill of a lifetime. The dust and mud coats are part of cooling strategies as well as protection from both sun and insects.

Africa-6360Africa-6312Clearly elephants are in trouble everywhere, even in Botswana where they are better off than in most places in Africa. Poaching is an immense problem as are conflicts with the needs of humans. How senseless and pathetic we humans can be when compared with such magnificent creatures.

This entry was published on February 19, 2014 at 8:47 am. It’s filed under Africa, Botswana, Ecosystem, John Snell, Photograph and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

7 thoughts on “The glory of elephants

  1. Incredible, John–no wonder Ganesha is one of the favorite Hindu gods: “The most striking feature of Ganesha is his elephant head, symbolic of auspiciousness, strength and intellectual prowess. All the qualities of the elephant are contained in the form of Ganpati. The elephant is the largest and strongest of animals of the forest. Yet he is gentle and, amazingly, a vegetarian, so that he does not kill to eat.” Thanks so much for these wonderful pictures 🙂

  2. Barbara Smith on said:

    I have always been fascinated by elephants. One of my favorite books, Modoc, tells a story of an amazing elephant.

  3. How fragile they are, I hope us humanoids wake up before it is too late for all of us.
    R L Fromm

  4. Thank you for these excellent photos of magnificent animals.

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