Kids are always searching for new friends to play with, especially for a game. While most kids will go to their neighborhood friends or school friends, these boys found the most unexpected new friends to play with. These boys found willing elephants to play a game of soccer.
The boys must have been surprised that their new elephant opponents had serious skill in soccer.
Shanti and Amari are two elephants from Indalu, a game farm located near Mossel Bay in the Western Cape of South Africa. The elephants weigh over three tons each, talk about being intimidating to your opponent, especially when one of their human opponents only weighed in at 37 pounds!
These children are hoping their soccer skills will outweigh the elephants’ advantage in size.
Five-year-old Finn Johnson invited his two friends, Hanro and Rohan van Rooyen, to play against the elephants. The game was set up by using trees as makeshift goalposts and Finn’s mother, a wildlife photographer named Fiona Ayerst, recorded the entire game.
The game was a competitive one and the elephants held their own against the three talented boys.
Finn, Hanro, and Rohan might have thought it would be an easy win, since it would have been safe to assume the elephants would not understand the game, but they were wrong. The elephants were able to score two goals on their own. GOAL!
The boys were not going to let that slide though and made sure to stay on top. The boys scored three goals of their own.
The gamed ended victorious for the three boys and the score at the end was 3-2. What a game for them! What a beautiful day for the boys to spend playing a game against such giant elephants. The coming together of little children and wild animals is a sight to behold. The elephants all might weigh three tons, but they are as gentle as can be around the three children.
A game of soccer brought together the most unlikely of friends and this will be a day the boys will not soon forget.
“It was a bit scary at first because the elephants were so huge but as soon as I started scoring goals and beating them I wasn’t scared anymore.”
The elephants Shanti and Amari were rescued four years prior and the rangers in charge of their care let guests interact with the elephants under their supervision.
Fiona, Finn’s mother, spoke about the one in a lifetime experience, “Football is an enrichment game for the elephants. The game is perfect for co-ordination and also for keeping the elephants stimulated … This day was a win-win situation for all, Finn got to have some fun and pit his skills against a large animal and the elephants played a stimulating game.”
While Finn might have been nervous in the beginning, by the end of the game he was solely having fun. Finn’s mother noticed,
“Brawn was definitely weighed in favour of the elephants but ultimately the dribbling skills shown by the boys won through.”
Besides dribbling the boys had another advantage, the boys realized that the elephants could not jump! The boys made the correct decision to try and keep the ball up and play a “header” game in order to score.
The game plan worked!
Watch the full video of the elephant versus boys soccer game right below!
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