The saying goes you can’t teach old dog new tricks. But what about elephants?
When the builders of a five-star lodge in Zambia constructed their hotel over an ancient elephant path, they assumed the pachyderms that annually used the trail in order to get to the area’s bountiful mango tree would reroute their course. The elephants, however, had another idea. Every spring, when the mango fruits ripen, a matriarch that locals call “Wonky Tusk” leads her group straight through the hotel lobby to reach the delicacies beyond.
Although elephants in the wild can be unpredictable, Wonky Tusk and her herd walk through the lodge’s lobby so gracefully and relaxed that not a thing is disturbed. To see this unusual phenomenon for himself, wildlife photographer Nathan Pilcher went to Zambia to film the spectacle.
His timing was fortuitous. During the spring he was there, Nathan saw Wonky Tusk come through as expected—but this time, a two-week-old baby followed close on her heels. Since an elephant with a brand-new baby to protect from predators is one of the most dangerous animals in Africa, no one knew if the youngster’s presence would dramatically change the other elephants’ behavior.
Watch the short video below to see what happens when Wonky Tusk and her family “check in” at the lodge.
Here’s to finding your true places and natural habitats,