Tourist dollars from safaris and luxury accommodation rentals are part of what allows large national parks all over the world to protect and care for their animals and the land they live on.
But in moments when animals are vulnerable, it can be hard to see people standing by, gawking for their own amusement.
Though not everyone was happy with the tourists in this video from Chobe National Park in Botswana, they still marveled at the moment when an elephant gave birth to her calf, surrounded by her herd.
The elephants seemed to be watching and grazing as the caravan went by. And it must have been clear to a park ranger that one elephant was about to give birth just from the way she looked at that moment.
And since elephants are pregnant for a jaw-dropping 22 months, perhaps someone knew she was due.
But it doesn’t take an expert to tell what’s going on here.
It’s not a surprise that rangers allowed guests to stop and watch – though many have pointed out that a bit more distance would have been ideal.
With cameras out, guests in the caravans experience quite a moment as the amniotic sac is expelled. (And they aren’t as close as they seem – the video is zoomed in on the elephant.)
It’s actually quite rare for elephants to give birth during the day, making this an even more unique sight.
According to Sciencing:
“Wild elephants normally give birth at night. It is believed this is to provide them with an undisturbed environment. A female in labor has been known to make attempts to interrupt the birth, if it is occurring during the day or early dawn.”
But mom was definitely ready!
Gravity does some of the work here as the sac bursts when it hits the ground (which is normal).
There’s a bit of tumbling for the baby since mom was standing on a small hill, but since a calf can weigh 200 to 320lbs at birth, they’re heartier than your average newborn.
Still, what a way to come into the world!
Mom immediately rushes over to her newborn to cradle it close to her.
Mothers will sniff and blow on a calf as they bond with it.
As the rest of the herd gathers around her, we see just how important the birth of a calf is to the entire community. And there’s always at least one adult elephant keeping an eye on the onlookers at any given time.
While the poster’s caption stated that they witnessed a “Post birth celebration and protection from potential prey by the elephant herd…” it’s possible that the protection the elephants thought they needed was from the humans nearby. (And since you don’t need protection from prey, we imagine he meant “predators.”)
Nevertheless, no one interfered beyond filming the scene – which is a good thing because this elephant does not appear to be messing around!
What initially looked like a herd of just 4-5 elephants turns out to be much closer to 10 and they form a circle around the mother, who can now concentrate solely on her newborn calf.
While the video ends long before anything else happens, it’s typically for a newborn calf to be able to stand within an hour of its birth and start walking the same day. Once it can stand, it can nurse, which it will do for about 4 years before weaning!
If you’d like to see the amazing moment, you can scroll down below.
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