A journal of our adventures in Johannesburg (nicknamed Joburg) Africa from January of 2014 through July of 2015 while preparing for and serving as senior Church Education System (CES) missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
Next in line to go on an outing with us was Rebecca’s family. Since Maddie loves animals and Savannah made friends with a baby elephant when she was in Thailand, we decided we should take them to the Elephant Sanctuary near Johannesburg. These are not animals taken from the wild, but ones that have been rescued for one reason or another and cannot be released into the wild. The day was both educational and exciting. We learned for example that elephants don’t purposely travel to a particular place to die, but that as they age and their sixth and last set of molars are worn down, they migrate to places where the foliage is softer. They are eventually not even able to chew that and that is when they die. We also learned that their amazing “memory” is actually a passing back and forth of information between elephants even large distances away. This is accomplished through a low rumbling sound that they make which is then amplified through sort of a baffling system in their skulls. Pretty interesting stuff. You can learn a lot more at http://www.elephantsanctuary.co.za/ but for the blog, let’s get to the pictures:
It was enough to think about keeping your hand where the elephant could get it during the AND more importantly not getting walked on so Rebecca rode in Elder Davie's pocket on his elephant walk.
Maddie wanted to watch the trainers with the elephants (she just turned around to say hi :)
Checking out the teeth--anyone want to be an elephant dentist? It looks like we are directly under the trunk, but we were off a little to the side--the trunk is so heavy that they warn you not to get under it.
Elephant skin is way, way more rough than it even looks.
Frank and I with Timba. Savannah is there too (in grandpa's hand)
Here is the elephant "kiss"
And the result of the elephant kiss :)
Jim didn't want to get too close to the big bull elephant
I fed the elephant since Jim didn't want to--I don't blame him, this is a very big male that isn't even allowed to be around the other elephants. The angle of the shot doesn't do justice to his size, but his trunk really is as amazingly long as it look!
If you think what we are doing in these pictures looks a little dangerous, apparently they do to!
My turn to walk--trainers were nearby telling us exactly the pace to keep, etc.