Cape Town – We humans have a dedicated day for it, but in the animal kingdom, every day is Mother’s Day.
The fierce and protective maternal instinct in different species is at least equal to, and in some cases even stronger, than ours. Like us, animals are biologically programmed to preserve their species.
Most animals protect and care for their young with some species going to incredible lengths to do so.
A prime example of this was witnessed recently by tourists on a game drive in Zambia.
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Through video footage shot by tourist Hans Henrik Haahr and uploaded onto Safari YouTube Channel, Latest Sightings, we see a large, lactating female elephant first shove a massive Nile crocodile with its head and trunk before proceeding to trample the aquatic reptile.
Latest Sightings estimated that the elephant weighed between 2 700 and 3 600 kilograms. Sadly, more weight than the crocodile could withstand.
The rampaging mother elephant was protecting a young calf from being snatched up by the crocodile. The video then caught the overly-protective pachyderm grab the tail of the large croc and toss it in the air, almost as if it was a ragdoll.
“Elephants are generally peaceful and extremely caring animals; however, females can become very aggressive when protecting a young calf,” Latest Sightings explained on their YouTube page.
“Crocodiles are opportunistic hunters and have been known to prey on baby elephants. This mother elephant was not taking any chances and was not happy with the crocodile being so close to her young calf. To protect her calf, she removed the threat of the crocodile entirely.”
“You can even see the elephant is lactating. She went up to the crocodile and started pushing it with her trunk and head, her behaviour got very aggressive, and she started trampling the crocodile. If you notice, the elephant doesn’t have tusks, so she is resorting to using her mouth for most of the attack. She even went as far as wrapping her trunk around the crocodile’s tail and tossing it around while trampling it,” the explanation continued.
Thokozani Mlambo, a local wildlife guide at Mkuze Game Reserve situated in Northern KwaZulu-Natal said that this is normal behaviour for an elephant mother. He said that “an elephant mother is one of the most protective and dangerous animals in the world. Holding the title of the largest land animal on the planet, an elephant will do anything to protect a calf”.
According to environmental philanthropic organisation, One Earth, “Elephants may be the most protective moms on the planet. Herds of females and children usually travel together in a circle with the youngest member on the inside, protected from predators. If one child becomes an orphan, the rest of the herd will adopt him.”