Etosha National Park, Namibia, Africa

A black and white wildlife fine art photograph of two African Elephant bulls fighting. Elephants fight with their heads together and trunks curled up in the air. Both animals push with their full weight each other.

copyright Anette Mossbacher, 3 August, 2020

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This photograph was captured with a Canon EOS-1D Mark IV and a lens. The following settings were used:

  • Aperture: ƒ/6.3
  • Exposure time: 1/3200s
  • ISO: 640
  • Focal Length: 600mm

The original photograph has the following dimensions: 5326 by 3550 pixels (WxH).

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Two massive African Elephant bulls having a fight, both are in powerful stances. With all their weight and strength, they lean against each other, trying to push the other giant away. Both trunks of these enormous animals curl above the heads. One tusk is just beside the eye of one elephant. African elephant bulls are fighting over females between two massive giants can go sometimes quick, or long. It all depends on the animal’s strength.

During the musth period that African elephant bulls go through, their testosterone levels increase dramatically. As a result, fighting amongst elephant bulls increases. Aggressive behavior is to demonstrate dominance. The African Elephant Bulls Fight fine art photograph shows this typical behavior. During this time, they will mate with a female. It will only occur once a year. The average birth rate is 21 percent annually. Before mating, an elephant bull can tell whether the female is reproductively receptive by smelling her urine. He will use it to detect the hormones. The bull has something we call a ‘Jacobson’s organ’ in his upper palate that recognizes estrous hormones. If the female smells right to him, he will curl his trunk up. However, the females’ esters cycle only lasts about three weeks per year. The mating pair will then copulate multiple times over that period.

African elephants, Loxodonta africana, are in category vulnerable in the IUCN list.

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