Etosha National Park, Namibia, Africa

While the African elephant bulls are fighting, their trunks twist around each other. Both are in identical positions with their back legs stretching and holding firm in the ground.

copyright Anette Mossbacher, 6 April, 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: 5379 by 3586 pixels (WxH).

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Background

While the African elephant bulls are fighting, their trunks twist around each other. It is almost as if they are participating in dance or kiss. Both are in identical positioning with their back legs stretching and holding firm in the ground, to give them the best leverage in the fight. Ultimately, the symmetry on both sides of the photograph creates a balanced composition. There is a contrast between the browny-yellow terrain, the calming, and clear blue skies. Even though the scene looks calmed serene, an elephant bullfight is not.

Elephants can be killed or fatally injured when they take part in a fight. If African elephant bulls are fighting, it is most often during their musth period. This is when they are at their behavior is at its most aggressive and temperamental. The word ‘musth’ is actually from the Hindi for ‘madness’ and is a periodic state at which testosterone levels may peak to up to 60 times higher than usual.

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

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