Caption: Elephant’s trunk, hacked off by poachers, lying on the ground near the body of a dead elephant, Lower Zambezi National Park, Zambia.
In mid-July, during a brief visit to Mwambashi River Lodge in the Lower Zambezi National Park in Zambia, I went for a morning drive with safari guide Roddy Smith. This was not a game drive as such, but rather a recce to check roads in the park.
We hadn’t gone far when Roddy spotted vulture activity, which drew us to a sickening sight — two dead elephants, shot by poachers. The massive bodies lay close together, the tusks hacked out and the hides already streaked with vulture droppings.
Near one of the elephants lay its trunk, presumably chopped off during removal of the tusks. I’ve written an account of this incident and included photographs of the bodies. This is not pleasant viewing, but I’ve published the images to make people more aware of how most of the world’s ivory is sourced and to discourage people, who might not know better, NOT to buy ivory products. See Elephant Poaching – the Shocking Aftermath.
Below are more cheerful pictures, illustrating elephant trunks in action, together with an extract from the article, African Elephant ~ Loxodonta Africana.
“The trunk of an elephant is the most extraordinary and dexterous nose in creation. At once both gentle and strong, a trunk is capable of killing a lion — or caressing a frightened elephant calf. It can pick leaves, pull bark off trees, and pick up objects as small as a coin. It can suck up a gallon of water to squirt into a mouth or on a hot back (Elephants do not drink through their trunk, but use it to draw the liquid).
With their trunks elephants throw dust in the air, rub their eyes, greet one another, sound calls, test uncertain ground, smell danger — or a potential mate — and snorkel.”