10 Oct 2017 Spotlight on Somapane by Chloe Grotto
Within the Camp Jabulani herd, there are many shining and rising stars amongst it. We are so lucky to have so many unique personalities and outgoing elephants like Mambo, Sebakwe and Jabulani. However, there are some elephants in the herd with amazing personalities that hide away from the lime light. The gentlest giant and sweetest amongst the elephants is also the shyest. He is the beautiful Somapane.
Somapane doesn’t like to “toot his own trunk”, but he is quite an intelligent elephant. Many people are familiar with tracking dogs who are used for anti-poaching purposes, but have you ever herd of an anti-poaching elephant? Back in Somapane’s original home in Zimbabwe, he was trained to sniff an article of clothing and track down the human scent, even if it was quite a far stretch away! Elephants are used to walking for long distances, unlike the average dog, and their sense of smell is phenomenal. Utilizing both of these special skills make for one mean-poacher-detecting-machine! Besides his phenomenal intellect, Somapane is also quite the lady killer with his dashing good looks.
His tusks are quite impressive, compared to most other elephants, as they glisten a bright white against the African sun. The sheer size and width of the tusks are enough to make the rests of the guys jealous, but Somapane is not one to show off. Even with his intellect, good looks and wonderful personality, Somapane likes to keep to himself and enjoy the peacefulness of the day in the bush.
At the watering hole, the young ones are the first to the water’s edge, eagerly jumping in after one another. Sebakwe and the other older elephants are not far behind, testing the water with their toe quickly before cannonballing into the deep end. As the rest of the herd play tussle with one another in the water, Somapane stands with his toes against the water’s edge, looking longingly at his family. He slowly moves along the bend of the watering hole, watching the scene like it’s his favorite movie, grabbing a few twigs to snack on like a big bowl of popcorn. Soon the older adults begin to move off from the swimming hole, urging the young ones to follow them with their deep vocalizations. Somapane watches on eagerly, lifting his feet up and down quickly with excitement as the herd begins to move out.
When only a few are left wading in the water, Somapane comes with a mighty swing of his trunk and begins to plumage into the water, swinging his trunk wildly in a fit of joy. He wades in the water, slowly sinking himself into the mud until he is over on his side like a big dog ready for an afternoon nap. You would never have guessed that an elephant could have such a fun time in a big pool all by himself! As the elephant keepers and the rest of the herd begin to move further into the bush for feeding time, Somapane realizes he better catch up to them before they leave him behind. With a few awkward push-up motions, he’s up and waddling out of the water after his family. You just can’t help but smile at the sight of him!