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[Video] Naughty Elephant

At last we have a video uploaded to YouTube!

If you want to keep up with the story make sure you check the two first parts:


Our time and bandwidth are quite limited around here but after a few tries we managed to finish gathering the “best moments” of the big African elephant around the camp and upload it. Unfortunately most of the best parts were on photos only.

Even though I have a recording camera, the batteries I got months ago are the worst possible quality and most of the times the camera won’t even turn on… Because of that I missed many cool situations. On top of that, the closest village is over a 2 hour round trip and we only get to go there if it’s really necessary. To put it into perspective, the last time I went there was around 6 weeks ago…

Without further ado, here’s the video. Enjoy!




~Sofia.


If you liked this entry, make sure you check out our Videos category.
Previous Videos entries:
Predator or Prey: Who do we cheer for?
Adam Sandler attacked by cheetah in South Africa
Impala jumps into tourist car to escape Cheetahs
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Predator or Prey: Who do we cheer for?

Cheetah family feeding from a freshly killed kudu in a South African safari.

A family of cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) feed from the fresh carcass of a kudu (Tragelaphus strepsiceros), but should we feel happy that the cheetahs are getting fed or sad that a young kudu died?

Anyone interested in the natural world has undoubtedly watched their fair share of nature documentaries. Natural history film-making allows some of the most fascinating and spectacular images and scenes from nature to be transmitted to anyone in the world: someone might never see a lion (Panthera leo) in real life, but through documentaries, they can have a very emotional and intellectual connection with one. Hearing the soft narration of David Attenborough over spectacular images of animals, plants and landscapes is the way in which many people learn about the natural history of far away lands. However, there are psychological and evolutionary forces at work when we sit comfortably to watch the latest episode of our favourite nature documentary, forces that connect us with our remote ancestors in the wilds of Africa and elsewhere.

One very common feature of the nature documentary is the struggle between predator and prey; for example, a cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) locked in a life and death chase with an impala (Aepyceros melampus) or a crocodile (Crocodylus niloticus) snatching a blue wildebeest (Connchaetes taurinus) as it desperately tried to cross a river during the Great Migration. These types of scene are common place almost every day all over the world as animals battle to survive in the wild; predators struggle to catch other animals so as to feed themselves and their families and prey must be ever vigilant and quick witted to avoid the jaws and claws of a hungry hunter. But something interesting happens inside us when we watch these violent scenes from nature; we find ourselves cheering the seemingly helpless prey animal as it races and fights to escape from certain death and we are saddened if the predator succeeds in its kill and begins its grizzly feeding. But why is this? Ultimately it’s because we humans, as primates and mammals, have spent most of our evolutionary past as prey to all manner of fearsome beasts and when it comes to picking a team, it’s much easier for us to side with prey over predator.

It was not so long ago (in geological time) that our ancestors roamed African savannahs in their small family groups and found themselves becoming an easy to catch food source for the big cats that we now go and see when on safari. Our ancestors would have lived in a great deal of fear and alertness that, say, a leopard (Panthera pardus) might kill their children during the night or that a crocodile might launch at them when they come to the river to drink or any number of horrific scenarios that make them the victim of powerful predators. They gained instincts that helped protect them, keep them alive and, ultimately, conquer the world, such as being fearful and observant of their surroundings and also to look our for one another. Even though as a species we are not particularly physically adapted at defending ourselves, we have a powerful brain that gave us the ability to make tools, solve problems and alter our environments and eventually we became super predators, however, this is a very recent development in our species’ history and the drives deep inside us still align us with the prey rather than the predator.

Natural history filmmakers can also play tricks with our perception; with some careful and purposeful editing, and the right music, the narrative can be changed and our sympathies can suddenly be put with the predator. A few images of some cute but hungry lion cubs is enough to get us cheering for the lionesses who have to bring back food to feed the youngsters. However, the filmmakers are appealing to the same instincts in us that come naturally when the emphasis is on the prey and not the predator; we want the best for the cute little cubs because we feel drawn to animals that are small, fluffy and helpless because they remind us of our own species’ history as well as our offspring.

Although we do seem to have a natural bias in favour of prey animals, it is important to remember that predators are not the bad guys, they have to feed themselves as well as their families and they have a vital role to play in their ecosystems. Wildlife documentaries do a fantastic job about educating us about the natural world and it’s interesting to reflect that not so long ago, we humans were much more a part of the natural world than we are today.

This wonderful sequence from the BBC’s Life of Mammals exemplifies the struggle between predators and prey, enjoy:

Much love,

-Nick

If you liked this entry, make sure you check out our Dangerous Animals category.
Previous Dangerous Animals entries:
Living in the African Bush
When Herbivores Attack: Buffalo & Hippo
Adam Sandler attacked by cheetah in South Africa
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Adam Sandler attacked by cheetah in South Africa

Just a couple of days ago we had in the news the story about how an impala jumped into a tourist car in the Kruger National Park while trying to escape two cheetahs chasing it.

Today another news story involving cheetahs but this time with a famous Hollywood actor, Adam Sandler.

It seems that Mr. Sandler went on a South African safari and got to interact with cheetahs. Bare in mind that this is not the normal safari experience. Wild animals don’t like to be disturbed when they are just trying to survive and human interaction usually brings unnecessary additional stress that can damage their health. Unfortunately some places have either captive animals or tamed or semi-tamed animals that can be “exploited” to bring more tourists. Who wouldn’t want to pet and interact with a wild big cat right?
Wild animals will always display wild behaviours, whether we want it or not.

In this case you can watch on the video, first the introduction to what happened on the Letterman show, and then the actual video of the incident showing how the cheetah first circles Mr. Sandler and then jumps to his back. It is not in any way a vicious predator attack, it looks like a playful move from a big (probably tamed) cat wanting to have some fun. Of course that I’m not saying that it wouldn’t be scary to have a cheetah jumping on top of you. Cheetahs are the only felines that cannot retract their claws, this means that even if the animal was just playing, it could very easily make a nasty “scratch” (plus a traumatic experience).

 

Check out the video of Adam Sandler on the David Letterman show explaining what happened and the actual footage with the cheetah at the end.

 

 

Até à próxima!

~Sofia.

 

If you liked this entry, make sure you check out our Dangerous Animals category.
Other Dangerous Animals entries:
When Herbivores Attack: Elephants & Rhinos
A bloody end to a bloody career: Poacher trampled by elephant
Predator or Prey: Who do we cheer for?
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