It’s been a while since I wrote anything on here! Sukey has been keeping us busy but we’re enjoying being parents!

From our house, we have a stunning view over a drying lagoon. A few days ago, one of the females in a family which regularly pass through came into oestrus. Males from all around showed up and began pursuing her around the place.

Boys being boys, there was a fair amount of pushing and shoving involved….the young males involved in these tussles were not really contenders for the first prize, but the smell of an oestrus cow certainly stimulates some macho behaviour.

In the end, it was a very large bull who mated with the female, and I didn’t have my camera at the time, but it was good to know that a big bull passed on his genes.

In all these photos, you’ll see that the elephants have the tip of the trunk raised, scenting the air. It’s hard to overstate the importance of smell in an elephant’s decision process, and these bulls were using their giant nose to scent not just for the female, but for other males in the area who form the competition. The smell of the large bull would be enough to warn them not to get any big ideas – nature’s clever way of ensuring that a young bull is not bold enough to challenge a giant in a contest that might leave him with serious injuries.