Elephants along the Zambezi River in Zambia

Elephants can reproduce easily and the death of young elephants is not to common. they are familial and protect the youngsters from the day they are born. Females will have a 250 pound youngster every 3-10 years after the previous youngster. The condition of the female (age & health) probably determine when she will ovulate. Females are in heat for a very short time and then they have an almost two year gestation period. The youngsters can eat at two year but most females lactate for four years. The females begin breeding at about 15 years and the young males are persuaded to leave the matriarchal group at about ten years – when they become a teenage nuisance and start to chase the girls.

This page is on the elephants at the Royal Zambezi lodge on the Zambezi River in Zambia. This is one of Africa’s most picturesque locations and the elephants and hippos are always in sight.

Outside the tent/chalets is the river and in the river are elephants. they are around pretty much all the time and generally provide photo opportunities rather than consternation. This one is sloshing in the wet grasses just outside my room. The area outside the river channel is quite dry and elephants enjoy the water and the wet plants. 
My deck rail is in the foreground as this girls wanders past. In most cases the animals here are parts of small family groups although there are a few single males around as well. Elephants will eat hundreds of pounds of vegetation each day so they are either in the dry woodlands breaking up trees or along the river drinking and eating the softer wetter vegetation. There are elephants in good numbers here in both habitats.
Because the lodge is right up against the river (the better to go tiger fishing from) animals that utilize the river edge are often in or near camp. The image above and the one below show an elephant working along the river edge. the tent/chalets can be seen just set back a bit from the water.
As far as I know they just wander the edges and cause almost no trouble (usually). But there are occasions where a new group may arrive and not understand the protocols associated with suburban life. It is always wise to have an escort in the dark and to be careful in the daylight.
The image above and below here show an elephant that uses the path and then gathers seed pods that have fallen onto the roof at the reception/dining/gathering building.
The last image, below, is an elephant from Namibia. but he was just to grand not to add in to this page… He was just magnificent.

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