National Park is a sprawling, 7,500-square-mile South African wonderland filled with African wildlife. As one of the largest game reserves on the continent, spectacular animal sightings are a regular occurrence, but even for those most familiar with the park, everything stopped when witnesses spotted an elephant calf crumbling to the ground.
On May 26, 2015, Kruger National Park released eyewitness footage of this truly remarkable event to their YouTube channel. According to the park’s website, the elephantpopulation within the park can range from 7,000 to over 11,000, so while it might not be uncommon to cross paths with an elephant in the park, what the video below captures is considerably more rare.
According to the the website Latest Sightings, which chronicles the happenings inside Kruger National Park, the footage was taken by a photographer named Juanita Kruger, who states, “My first thought was that he was too weak to continue or maybe he was dehydrated. But as it was an extremely cool, over-cast and drizzly morning, I had to rule that out.” The verdict on what caused this baby elephant to collapse was still out.
Looking for more insight, Latest Sightings contacted wildlife photographer and guiding expert Conrad Cramer.
“Based on what Juanita described,” Cramer divulged to Latest Sightings, “and that the young elephant was ambling along comfortably before it collapsed, (it) would make me believe that the calf was doing fine.” Cramer’s explanation for the elephant’s collapse, therefore, is simply that it is a somewhat ordinary occurrence for calves to throw “a ‘tantrum’ when the herd is moving and mom won’t let them suckle.” So the calf wasn’t in trouble after all, the calf just wanted some rest and a little TLC.
“I have witnessed many stubborn bull calves,” Cramer concludes, “and tend to agree that he most likely simply wanted to enjoy the warm tarmac.”
Juanita Kruger admits that, “Many thoughts raced through my mind, including that he was physically too tired, or perhaps, even ill!” Ultimately, Cramer’s assessment would quell any concerns along those lines. There was still one major issue at hand however. The elephant calf was still lying in the middle of the road.
According to National Geographic, elephants weigh roughly 200 pounds when they are born. In light of that, it would seem that moving this calf with human muscle might prove to be a rather difficult task. A small convoy of cars can be seen in the video lined up in both directions of the road, motionless, watching in wonderment at the scene unfolding before them. That was when, amazingly, the nearby herd began surrounding the calf to help him on his way.
As for the condition of the calf after his spill, the Latest Sightings report confirms that once the calf began moving again, he seemed fine, and was back in the brush feeding like normal.
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