A massive African elephant walks through the riverbed towards the camera. Behind the giant is a large tree that is forked. The gap is between the tree directly in the middle where the elephant is walking. Further back in the distance are lush green trees and bushes and the rising mountains of the dry riverbed.
It is a massive transition for bull elephants to go from being an adolescent bull to a sexually mature male. The elephant bull will go through puberty at around 14 years of age. After that, he will have to leave the herd in his early twenties. It is an intimidating change as they can no longer be in the area/territory in which they grew up. Therefore, they venture to new areas, but they do not know where the right water and food sources are. As a result, they join bachelor herds consisting of older and wiser bulls. They will then show the younger bulls the ropes. In a study in the Okavango Delta and subsequently the Makgadikgadi Pans National Park, they discovered that elephant bulls are very selective about who they spend their time with. Of course also with who they form bonds. Younger males will generally only develop friendships with other younger males.
African elephants, Loxodonta africana, listed in category vulnerable of the IUCN list.
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