About the Author

Jess Shillaw

Guest contributor

Jess was born in Kwazulu/Natal but grew up in Cape Town. Having an innate love for all things wild but getting to spend little time in the bush while growing up, she headed straight for the Lowveld after school. She completed a guiding ...

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on The Elephant Effect

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Elephants are the true kings of the “jungle”. The are wonderful to see and for such large animals they are adorable. Love the way they look at you as they walk by and of course baby elephants are truly the best. Victoria

I agree! An incredible feeling when you like into their eyes as they pass by!

Very informative Jess. I am just wondering if the young shoots of the trees do get “enough” time to grow – considering the trimming effect the ellies have.

Jess, Thanks for such a thorough lesson about Elephants. We are always troubled by the mess they leave behind and hadn’t really thought about the other benefits! I just recieved a book from fellow blogger Vin Beni and his wife called Wisdom of Elephants. With regards to Elephants “memory and the power of recognition”, this quote by Oscar Wilde that we found in the book seems appropriate here – “Memory is the diary that we all carry with us”.

Thanks for the “plug” Michael!

Thank you! I like that quote too!

I always live your blogs Jess. We had an amazing experience in Botswana with elephant in Khutse game reserve. It is extremely dry in Botswana currently. The elephants destroyed the pipes to the waterhole. The solar pump still pumped water every day, but ilthe water came out of a thin pipe. A herd of about 30 elephant congregated arounf this pipe from early in the morning till sunset when the pump stopped pumping. It was amazing to watch from our campsite. They were mlling around. The young bulls bickering constantly. It was sad to see the elephants leaving the waterholevat sunset and not all of them got enough water to drink. The best experience was elephant walking past right next to our campsite.

Thank you, Marinda! Glad you had an amazing experience with elephants!

Master Tracker

I went to one of the Tsavo parks where the elephants had been poached to extinction in it. The result a mass of acacia and little else. As a result of the lack of pachyderms the place was been strangled .

It’s evidently clear how important their presence is in the ecosystem!

Jess – you say in 50 years time who knows where we will be? How right you are. It is of great concern to people who have a love of Wild Life and the Bush. Where would we be without them? Very much poorer in lots of ways I think. Wendy M

I agree, Wendy!

Very interesting piece on elephants. Thank you.

I have always loved the elephants. Even more so now, realizing the traits they have and their role in the ecosystem. I’m looking forward to my upcoming trip to Londolozi.

Glad you have more of an appreciation for these amazing mammals.

Spending time with elephants is one of the most magical moments on Safari. They are wonderful role models for family life- their relatives, children gathered around in a circle to support the wonder of birth; standing watch after a family member has died and I truly believe they cry. ❤️❤️❤️ Elephants!

Excellent informational blog, Jess. I enjoyed the images from the various individuals. Who doesn’t love elephants and I am impressed with the degree they affect the bush on multiple levels. From what I’ve heard, along with pictures taken from a plane above a herd, their numbers are heavily in the decline. It seems so many animals are decreasing. Very worrisome. Thanks for your interesting blog entry.

Thank you, Joanne! It is worrying!

I wish I could post my most memorable elephant encounter. Last morning drive of the trip. Alone in a vehicle with Talley and Freddy. Watched a breeding herd for a long while. Finally they began crossing the road in front of us…..then stopped…turned and walked to and surrounded the vehicle. Absolute magic. Freddy on the tracker’s seat with my small camera taking video. I have that on an sd card and watch it often. This was my 2015? trip back to Londolozi. See you again next year.

Jess, they are also quiet when walking – I have never heard an elephant walking, they are so quiet!

I was shocked at our first encounter with an elephant herd–more than 30 of them. We never heard them coming.

Thank you Jess for all the interesting information! Elephants are often thought as destructive to the habitat without ever realizing all the benefits that come from that tree-downing behavior. It’s also interesting that elephants are one of the most iconic and recognizable wildlife in Africa (ignoring lions, rhinos & giraffe) and that begins at an early age for most of us due to Dumbo and Babar. Sometime in the future you might relate the nuances between the African and Asian Elephants which we find fascinating. Again, great job!

Thank you!

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