African elephant calf follows its mom through the Okavango Delta in Botswana. Elephant calves are cute and funny to watch. The calves are the most advanced species with newborn capabilities. Female elephants are pregnant for about 22/23 months. Calves will stay very close to their mom during the first few months, since they cannot see very well, but can recognize their mom’s scent, sound, and touch. Like every baby, in this case, the calf, they are starving! An African elephant calf can drink up to 11/12 liters of milk from their mother per day. That can last until they are at the age of 10 years. Elephants are very social. The whole herd will look after a newborn calf and teach it everything it needs to know over the years until adulthood. In the first year, elephant calves cannot control their trunks so well.
Elephant tusks replace the milk teeth of a calf when they are around 6-12 months old. Tusks can grow about 17cm / 6.7″ per year, but this also depends on their diet and minerals they can get in the environment they live in.
This photograph was taken in the Okavango Delta when a large herd of elephants passed us to cross a river. The little African elephant calf follows its mom through the river without any problems. Hanging on mom’s tail is typical behavior for a calf in their first few months. They always try to keep up with mom and the herd before they disappear into the bush.
African elephant, Loxodonta africana, listed in the IUCN list as vulnerable.