Video: Watch as Elephants “Check In” at a Lodge in Zambia

Candice Gaukel Andrews March 31, 2016 23
Some describe the bond between a baby elephant and its mother as the closest of any of the animals on Earth. If the baby is female, she will likely stay with her mother into her own adulthood and until the mother dies. Males stay with their mothers until about the age of 12. ©Maggie Kareus

Some describe the bond between a baby elephant and its mother as the closest of any of the animals on Earth. If the baby is female, she will likely stay with her mother into adulthood and until the mother dies. Males stay with their mothers until about the age of 12. ©Maggie Kareus

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.

Every spring, a herd of elephants walks through the lobby of a five-star lodge in Zambia. It was built over an ancient elephant path. ©Video by Lion Mountain TV

Every spring, a herd of elephants walks through the lobby of a five-star lodge in Zambia. It was built over an ancient elephant path. ©Video by Lion Mountain TV

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.

Recently, the herd brought a two-week old baby through the hotel lobby. ©Video by Lion Mountain TV

Recently, a two-week-old baby followed its mother through the hotel lobby. ©Video by Lion Mountain TV

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,

Candy

23 Comments »

  1. Jibralta Merrill, MBA April 17, 2016 at 12:27 pm - Reply

    It just goes to show you how amazing the memories of elephants truly are… this is the path they took to go to the river & regardless of the fact that there’s now a stone building with humans in their path, the elephants still remember the path & they continue their afternoon amble to the river. The video of the baby elephant toddling around the humans was truly stunning.

  2. Carolyn E. Balls April 16, 2016 at 2:44 pm - Reply

    Wow! incredible film…beautiful creatures…

  3. Janice Christen-Whitney April 16, 2016 at 2:43 pm - Reply

    I have very mixed feelings about how these incredible earth’s natural citizens (elephants) having such trust with us humans

  4. Jibralta Merrill, MBA April 16, 2016 at 2:05 pm - Reply

    This is an AMAZING video! I wish I could afford to visit. Thanks for posting this.

  5. Edward Lagace April 16, 2016 at 1:41 pm - Reply

    I see that it appears quiet in the Lobby when they go through so there appears to be a almost reverent respect for these pachyderms. That is a good thing! I also believe they could be trained to use a different route. I agree with Maristella D’Addario they are wanting this tourist attraction to grow. I am hoping they do not feed them. Perhaps it is inevitable that nature becomes our tool to use in whatever way it can be for human gain.

  6. Maristella D'Addario April 16, 2016 at 1:40 pm - Reply

    It seems really nice…but they shouldn’t have locate a lodge on a ancient path of elefants….plus it’s evident that they feed them to extend their presence as long as they entertain tourists and photographers. I see this is better than a complete closure of the path and it could be good to conservation that people can see them “free” and so close!

  7. Rebecca Fay April 16, 2016 at 1:39 pm - Reply

    Another awesome story Candice! Thank you!

  8. Joseph Chege April 16, 2016 at 1:39 pm - Reply

    is it a “check in” or is it the lodge which was constructed in the Elephants ancient Migratory corridor…?

  9. Laurie Furst April 16, 2016 at 1:38 pm - Reply

    Incredible to see this kind of trust displayed by the elephants!

  10. Susan Kay Hanzlik April 16, 2016 at 1:37 pm - Reply

    This is fabulous!!!

  11. Alexis Schulman April 16, 2016 at 1:37 pm - Reply

    I like her style;) Hope this spontaneous interaction stays intact and not disturbed by an increase in human visitors .

  12. John Burridge April 16, 2016 at 11:56 am - Reply

    One hopes this (somewhat acclimated?) family of elephants has not become more liable to predation by human poachers.

  13. Mahina Perrot April 16, 2016 at 11:53 am - Reply

    LOVE THIS ! Going to check it out soon in real life! …

  14. Susan Chiellini April 16, 2016 at 11:52 am - Reply

    Fabulous! Thank you for sharing. Made my day!

  15. Thomas Sawyer April 16, 2016 at 11:48 am - Reply

    Pretty cool Candy!

  16. Kathryn Papp April 16, 2016 at 11:45 am - Reply

    Great commentary from the Elephants! Actions are louder than words … some boundaries need to be honored. …

  17. Patricia Follweiler April 16, 2016 at 11:37 am - Reply

    Wow! Thanks, Candy!

  18. Ramakrishna Venkatasamy April 16, 2016 at 11:37 am - Reply

    Hard to believe really.

  19. Mary K. April 3, 2016 at 9:30 am - Reply

    This is such fun and incredible opportunity to see this rare interaction between man and animals.

  20. Jack Daugherty April 3, 2016 at 9:16 am - Reply

    Thank you for sharing this, Candice.

  21. Susan Chiellini April 3, 2016 at 6:13 am - Reply

    Loved your video about the Elephants who came to dinner. So beautiful and majestic. Something I would never see, or know about, if not for your reporting and sharing. Thank you!

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