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Piccadilly 3:3 Young Female

Piccadilly 3:3 Young Female

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Matt Rochford

Ranger

Growing up in the small coastal town of Mtunzini afforded Matt a childhood of endless adventures and the freedom to explore the rich diversity of animal and plant life in the area. He thus developed his passion for wildlife at a young age. ...

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12 Comments

on Why are Elephants so Paranoid about Predators?

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Francesca Doria
Master Tracker

I know from behavioural studies that elephants are scared of bees, those insectes make them run away. In Kenya and Tanzania they also recognise men’s voices and flee, not the same with women s voices. They are the strongest animals, but the smallest (bees) can hurt them, not to mention some humans…

William Paynter
Master Tracker

Great analysis Matt. Elephants are truly one of natures wonderful creatures.

Johanna Browne
Senior Digital Ranger

Very well written. Might their behavior in regard to predators be not just for themselves, but perhaps is akin to the Humpback whales who will protect other species from predators such as the Orca, also have a play in this? Humpbacks will go to great lengths to protect seals and other whale and dolphins species from harm. As you stated their desire to keep the peace might envelope protecting the impala as well. It’s really nice for someone to recognize and acknowledge the “emotional intelligence” of these animals. Gives me hope! Thank you!

Valmai Vorster
Master Tracker

Matt that is the perception I have of elephants, being peaceful and minding their own business. But being threatened will certainly change their demeanor immediately from being the gentle giant to being a highly irritated and pursuing the threat with a charge. I have often seen mothers are terrible nervous when there are tiny babies that they must protect. Family ties are incredible and much desired.

Denise Vouri
Guest contributor

I have often wondered about why elephants become so disturbed by a smallish predator, such as a leopard, considering the size difference. I understand the females wanting to protect their young, but the bulls are so massive, it seems they would have no worries. Interesting thoughts and comments Matt so thank you.

Linda Rawles
Digital Tracker

Great pictures! I do know of rhinos killing elephants and elephants killing rhinos. Does that happen only in man-created circumstances (animals who have experienced trauma, the wrong “mix” of animals in an enclosed area, etc) or does that happen “naturally”?

Paul Canales
Master Tracker

Nice post Matt! This is all very fascinating!

Jennifer Horne
Explorer

They certainly are gentle giants albeit somewhat intimidating when up close to them. The bond they have to their offspring and community is something to be admired and revered. Wonderful photography!

Christa Blessing
Master Tracker

I love all Londolozi blogs on animal behavior! It’s so interesting to get to know more and more about our animal brothers and sisters.
Elephants are also such really special animals because of their strong family bounds and social behavior.

Michael and Terri Klauber
Guest contributor

Matt, Thanks for a very informative blog! Your comment about the large bull elephant reminded us of a game drive at Londolozi when a huge bull came so close to our vehicle that he sniffed Terri! Nobody moved and never to be forgotten. Our ranger Byron kept everyone calm!

Vin Beni
Guest contributor

Great perspective Matt. We had an opportunity to see the rapid chnge in behavior as a lion approxhed a small, peaceful herd with 2 very young calves. Tranquility to ferocity,

Lisa Antell
Master Tracker

What is interesting to me is to witness the difference in elephant temperament in different regions of Africa. They tend to be calm and peaceful in the Sabi Sands, but far less so in other areas and countries. There is clearly a difference in how they have been treated by the humans in those areas that can make them jumpier. I have to assume that Ellies also have differences in their level of alarm for other predators based on the level of danger or persecution there, as well. However, there must be an innate instinctual sense of alarm for any predator from many thousands of years of evolution.

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