Listen closely and you can hear the incredible sound of this elephant breathing through its trunk; what most of us think of as its nose. Though elephants possess a sense of smell more sensitive than a bloodhound’s, able to smell water from miles away, their trunk is so much more than a nose. It is both an upper lip and nose with extraordinary talents.
The fact that its nose is at the end of its trunk gives elephants a unique skill – the ability to snorkel! By lifting its trunk up high, an elephant can cross deep bodies of water. Its trunk is also super sensitive to vibrations, able to sense the rumble of faraway herds and even far-off thunder. The other amazing thing about an elephant’s trunk is the presence of two little ‘fingers’ of muscle on its tip, which gift it incredible dexterity. It can even pick up a single blade of grass!
Used for breathing, smelling, drinking and feeding, the trunk is also vital for social reasons. It is how elephants greet and caress each other. And, when an elephant feels uneasy, it soothes itself by caressing its own face and ear with its trunk.
This young bull elephant is just waking up after a darting operation by Peace Parks. When the male, bull elephant was younger it was fitted with a lightweight collar in order to track its movements. However, as the bull has grown it’s neck has thickened and so the collar has been replaced with a larger one. It is a simple operation. The elephant was herded into a safe space where it was darted and assisted to fall gently to the ground. While sedated, the ground crew removed the old collar and fitted the new one. This young bull has been given a reverse drug to wake him up, so he’ll soon be on his feet.