The Magnificence of Elephants: A Photographic Tribute for #WorldElephantDay

Today, in celebration of all the elephants around the world and the organizations that support them, and to bring attention to poaching and illegal trafficking that’s led to the slaughter of over 35,000 elephants per year, it’s #WorldElephantDay. According to the Wildlife Conservation Society, nearly 800,000 elephants have been killed in the last three decades. The number is staggering. The global elephant population cannot survive at this rate.

Cecil was a tragedy, yet tragedy is widespread in Africa when it comes to the senseless killing of lions, rhinos and, of course, elephant. They all need our help. Did you know that the  day after Cecil was killed, a mother elephant and four of her offspring were savagely murdered for their ivory in Kenya? It’s heartbreaking.

If you want to help, follow this link. There are many ways you can lend your support.

While you’re contemplating all the wonderful things that you will do to help the elephants, here are some images from my trips to Africa over the last two years. Some you may recognize, others will be new..

I hope you enjoy.

Elephant, Timbavati, South AFrica

A BIG bull that wasn’t sure he quite liked us yet. His head was up, his ears out. Then after a few sniffs, we must have rated because he casually walked away. (Timbavati, South Africa)

Elephants, Amboseli, Kenya

A herd of elephant walks toward us from the acacia forest in the distance. When the herd got closer, they closed ranks around the babies for protection. (Amboseli, Kenya)

Baby Elephant, Amboseli, Kenya

Curiosity is universal.. this little baby couldn’t take his eyes of the egret and kept wanting to play. (Amboseli, Kenya)

Elephants hug in Amboseli, Kenya

Three large bulls engaged in an elephant-style bromance hug.  (Amboseli, Kenya)


If your sides  itch,why not scratch them both at the same time?!  I love the way the baby elephant’s feet look as if she’s wearing PJ’s with feet.  (Okavango Delta, Botswana)


When a well placed fallen tree makes itself available to frame a passing herd, you have to take the shot. (Amboseli, Kenya)


Morning stroll.. (Amboseli, Kenya)


When you’re tiny, it’s sometimes hard to keep up! (Mara Triangle, Kenya)


I’ve heard that elephants have over 150K muscles in their trunks.. What spectacular appendages they are. (Mara Triangle, Kenya)


A large bull seeing another bull in the distance, shakes his head vigorously in warning. (Amboseli, Kenya)


Splish Splash they were taken a (mud) bath! (Amboseli, Kenya)


Papa G reaching for some seed pods above us on the rim of the Hoanib riverbed. (Skeleton Coast, Namibia)


Flies don’t have a chance against these big dusters! (Amboseli, Kenya)


A fog of dirt (see dusting elephants above) makes for a mysterious and eerie setting. (Amboseli, Kenya)


Brotherly love… or actually, brotherly wrestling.. (Amboseli, Kenya)


A female cradles her trunk in her tusks while she sleeps.. (Amboseli, Kenya)


Elephant convoy headed to the marshes for some food and a little mud bath. ( Amboseli, Kenya)


“I love the water! I just LOVE the water!” (Amboseli, Kenya)


A female grazes so close to the vehicle that I couldn’t get her whole head into the shot. Loved it. (Mara Triangle, Kenya)


What you have to do when you’re trunk isn’t long enough.. (Madikwe, South Africa)


Sniffing our vehicle after a drink at a nearby dam (Madikwe, South Africa)


The End.. .

(Ok.. I know that’s so cliché but I couldn’t resist!

30 replies »

  1. Wonderful pics. I have lived with this animals all my life, in the slopes of Mt. Kenya, the fact that some of these were taken from Kenya makes me proud. Keep sharing.

  2. I am not typically an overly emotional person, something about elephants really gets to me. Viewing these beautiful creatures in such an intimate, every day setting made me tear up a couple times. Every one of those elephants is someone’s mother, son, daughter, and those little gestures of affection and protection are so tender. it makes them seem so much like us. Absolutely stunning. Thank you.

  3. Hey Susan,

    Just shared your blog on my Fb page. Stunning images (I seem to say this every time)! You really captured the playfulness and sense of family of these magnificent creatures. Aren’t we lucky that we’ve gotten to experience them up close and personal?

    Hugs, Les

  4. Cliché or not it’s a stunning shot to end on! A wonderful photo essay on elephants and your love and compassion for these beautiful animals shows through in every one.

Would love to hear from you!