About the Author

Rob Jeffery

Field Guide

Rob joined the Londolozi team at the start of 2017. Having grown up on a farm in the Cape and spending many holidays traveling Southern Africa he developed a love for the outdoors and an appreciation for the natural world. After completing a ...

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10 Comments

on Why Would Elephants Eat Toxic Bushveld Candelabra Euphorbia?

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Marinda Drake
Master Tracker

This is interesting Rob. I have never seen elephants eating euphorbia, although in Kruger I have seen them walking amongst the plants. I can only think that it is because of the drought that they are doing this.

Brian Cantrell
Senior Digital Ranger

Rob –
Always great to see a post from you….the perspective you bring is wonderful!

Joan Schmiidt
Digital Tracker

Rob, I have never seen a euphorbia before – maybe when we are there in 2020!

Joanne Wadsworth Kelley
Master Tracker

I agree that perhaps it’s the drought that has caused the elephants to do this unexpected eating behavior. But what strikes me the most is the difference between the animal and human digestive systems, and what it can and can not tolerate. SO toxic to humans on various levels….even breathing it in. Very interesting!

Alex McMillan
Explorer

It does look like the bush is extremely dry, with very little to eat … never seen anything eating the euphorbia trees.

Michael Kalm
Guest contributor

Quite remarkable – as was “The Gods Must be Crazy”!

Denise Vouri
Guest contributor

I read this with great interest as it seems a number of species have had to adapt to a different diet in light of global warming and subsequent droughts. The most fascinating is that animals have a greater ability to adapt their diet more easily than humans…. is their digestive system more adaptable to uncommon or potentially poisonous foods than humans, rendering us less likely to cope without “normal food”?!

Victoria Auchincloss
Senior Digital Ranger

This sounds a tad nervous making! I hope that whoever they are eating a toxic tree will not result in harm to large quantities of elephants!! Victoria

Bob and Lucie Fjeldstad
Guest contributor

From the video it seems to be quite popular. We’ve never seen that before either.

Callum Evans
Guest contributor

Interesting post.

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