The Zebra Foal and the Gentle Giant




by a friend at Meno A Kwena

Gentle GiantThe bull elephant, reluctantly at first, moved back a few feet as the desperately thirsty zebra foal limped to what little water was left in the water hole at Meno A Kwena.

The bull brooded as he watched the foal drink for a minute or two. The bleeding lion wound on the zebra’s leg got the bull’s attention, he seemed quite concerned about that and blew dust onto the deep gashes. The very young, not yet weaned, foal had escaped the lions but was starving to death.

The foal finished drinking and too weak to move started to doze off, head hanging over the meagre muddy water. The bull lost his patience, swinging his dripping mud trunk gently at the foal. Not a flinch. The bull swung his trunk again, and again, until he took a big step forward towering over the shaking foal. The bull once more got distracted by the lion saliva scented bloodied leg, examining it carefully with deep sucking breaths

Another bull elephant arrived at the water hole and so it was time for the first bull to assert his dominance of the water, he moved the little zebra away from harm’s way, a little nudge of his trunk, in case a fight breaks out over the water. The bull’s gentleness and compassion was incredible to watch. Especially in such a harsh and stressful environment as we are experiencing at the water holes now in this dry season.

I found the intact body of the baby zebra the next morning, lying close to where it had its last drink the day before. I was surprised nothing had killed the foal during the night as we have a lot of predator activity in close proximity to the water holes at night. Three bull elephants were feeding close by watching my every move as I got out of the car to inspect the foal’s lion wounds. I saw that the whole area around the zebra’s body was covered with elephant footprints…they were those of the gentle giant guardians feeding over there.Elephant connecting with zebra foal

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