Sometimes when I’m watching the boys play, I’m just National Geographic. I’m here to observe and document, not to intervene. If that means that occasionally a baby elephant that loses its pack has to starve, well, so be it. This is science.
Today we witness the cubs of the pride establishing hierarchies. The blue cub tries to protect his territory and playthings…
..but is immediately tackled…
….diaper wedgied, and humiliated by the green cub.
The blue cub moves on to another area of the den. He models behaviors of the adults in his pride.
He attempts to feed himself by pouncing on snakes and putting imaginary bites in his mouth, skills he will need if he is to survive in the wild.
But the spatula has gone in too far.
Much, much too far.
Next, the blue cub tries to insinuate himself on the green cub’s latest kill, a yellow rubber giraffe. He moves in on the tail portion hoping the green cub will not notice.
The green cub, who has already gorged and glutted himself, moves on to rest and digest.
The blue cub stands atop the giraffe carcass as though it were his kill and roars triumphantly.
Seconds later, realizing that the green cub is gone, the giraffe springs to life and tackles the blue cub.
At this point, one shot too late, the camera woman breaks her code of non-intervention to free the blue cub from the evil clutches of the yellow giraffe.
Should I have put down the camera 4 seconds earlier when I pretty much knew what was coming? Perhaps. But this is science.