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Wild Elephants at Play

I was fortunate enough to take a safari in South Africa this summer. The entire experience blew me away from the moment we drove into the park, where we immediately found two tall giraffes munching on leaves. The rest of the 4 day experience was one of the best experiences of my life, all because the entire park was teeming with life everywhere we looked. I could describe for you nearly each encounter, as they still stand out in my mind with perfect clarity in a brain that is otherwise very forgetful (which is one of the reasons I take pictures in the first place). Today, however, I’m here to tell you a short story of the 5 wild elephants playing gleefully in the water.

On the third evening of our tour we drove up to the edge of a lake and the first thing we noticed were the waves lapping the shore on an otherwise calm day. Rounding the corner brought 5 young, male elephants into view actively roughhousing in the water. We sat in our jeep with dropped jaws watching them dance in a circle, push each other, splash water playfully, and hug each other. It was at this point I was suddenly hit with feelings of hope, for these magnificent beasts were in what was truly their space, safe from human predators and acting truly naturally wild and free. Hope comes from those times when you get a glimpse of light that a depressing negative trend might be reversing, and these elephants brought that to me in that moment. I thought of how large the park was, for we had only visited a small slice, and I realized the vastness of the space that had been set aside to protect the creatures of Africa and it hit me then that people cared for the longevity of our planet not just in the earth-protecting bubble where I live, but clear on the other side of the globe that is South Africa as well. The struggle to prevent extinction of the world’s species is far from over, but maybe, just maybe, we’re finally turning a mental and social corner. Hopefully.

In this post, I present to you one of the images I caught from watching these powerful beasts play in an amazing pool with seemingly boundless energy. I can only hope it conveys even a fraction of the emotions that brought tears to my eyes to watch these amazing animals at play.

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