Thursday, October 05, 2006

Now that's what I call news

Lions are at the top of the animal food chain, but they have never hunted elephants - until now. Our correspondent watches a BBC crew record the most shocking nature film you will ever see…

…A few years ago stories began to emerge from Botswana that were so extraordinary wildlife experts struggled to believe them. The north of the country is home to 130,000 elephants, a quarter of the world’s population. According to guides in a remote area of Chobe National Park a pride of lions had started attacking elephants. Driven by extreme hunger at the height of the dry season, when their normal prey was scarce, they had started by taking down baby elephants and then moved on to adolescents and occasionally even fully grown adults.

When you leave reality behind for a week you often come back to big news, but this? Lions eat elephants now? The world seems a different, more hostile place, somehow.


monix said...

In 'Going Solo', his account of his days in East Africa, Roald Dahl wrote:
"Only once did I see any elephant. I saw a big tusker and his cow and their one baby moving slowly forward in line..... The elephants never saw me and I was able to stay gazing at them for quite a while. A great sense of peace and serenity seemed to surround these massive, slow-moving, gentle beasts.Their skin hung loose over their bodies like suits they had inherited from larger ancestors, with the trousers ridiculously baggy. Like the giraffes they were vegetarians and did not have to hunt or kill in order to survive in the jungle, and no other wild beast would ever dare to threaten them."

The world seems a different, more hostile place, indeed.

Brit said...


David, of David's Secret Blog, said that "there are only two blogging templates: 1) Here's something that seems profound that is really mundane and 2) here is something mundane that is really profound."

Nobody will remember Jack Straw or Prescott in a few years, but now we know that elephants can be prey.

Duck said...

The last major elephant story I recall was about how the poaching of large males for their tusks was leaving a void in the elephant social hierarchy of mature males, that was leading to "delinquent" behavior by the young adolescent males who had no role models and noone to keep them in line. Apparently the young males were acting out like gang-bangers and becoming quite violent.

I think we recognize a certain likeness to humanity in elephants that we don't recognize in many other animal species. It is their intelligence and their social nature surely, but something else is there to. Perhaps it is the fact that each elephant child is such a large investment of the herd's resources, and is less expendable than for other smaller animals. Despite their size, or maybe because of it, they are more vulnerable than other creatures. The death of an elephant seems more tragic than the death of a wildebeest or a squirrel, for that matter.