Thank you for adopting one of the elephant families from Dzanga Bai!
The following are exclusive videos of Etta and her family, recorded by Andrea Turkalo at Dzanga.
(There is sound, of course, so best viewed with your headphones on.)
This is the first day that Etta II and her newborn, Ettie (EttaII(II)) have appeared in the clearing. Ettie walks over to another infant who thinks about kicking Ettie, but doesn’t. The other calf is about 18 months old (tusks just beginning to show). When Etta II and Ettie return to the pool, Ettie’s aunt, Etta III is there. These two sisters are nearly always in the clearing together.
At the end of the sequence, someone from the family of the other calf approaches and seems to be dominant over Etta II and Etta III, because they move away from the pit.
Etta III rumbles as she leaves a mineral pit (her older sister and neice are to the north), apparently unsure of where the family is. She heads to the north, but pauses twice – listening? Then she starts off with purpose, giving a clear rumble and basically runs to join Etta II and Etta II’s calf Ettie (EttaII(II)).
As Etta III arrives, Ettie comes over and her aunt shows one of the most interesting behaviors common in elephants: ‘allo-parenting’ (the display of parent-like behavior to a calf that is not their own). Here, although Etta III has not yet had her first calf, she moves her left front leg forward to allow Ettie to ‘nurse’. Although probably not producing milk, Etta III is offering comfort to her niece.
Etta II drinks minerals dissolved in water from a narrow pit carved in the bottom of the stream running through Dzanga Bai. Ettie (EttaII(II)), her calf, does not yet know how to use her trunk effectively, but explores while mom drinks.
Ettie (EttaII(II)) begins to wander away from her mom and her aunt (EttaIII). EttaIII follows and reaches out. Ettie turns around and follows her aunt back.
This is a cute example of ‘allo-parenting’, where some other member of the family expresses parental behavior toward an individual not their own offspring. Very common in humans, allo-parenting is very rare in the rest of the animal kingdom. Ettie then has a great time splashing and rolling around in the pool while her mom is drinking.
Etta II walks to new pit with her infant following close behind.