Extraordinary moment an elephant teetered on two legs to reach tasty treat from tree branch
Teetering on two legs, this elephant showed he aims high when it comes to getting a good meal.
The animal wasn’t daunted when faced with pulling some tasty pods from the branches of a particularly tall tree.
Instead of simply shaking the tree trunk and catching his meal when it fell, he stretched himself to his full height to elegantly pluck it from the branches.
It is thought this elephant, a 40-year-old male, is the only one of his herd who has learnt the extraordinary stunt.
The rare spectacle was caught on camera by photographer Etienne Oosthuizen, who manages the Old Mondoro Bush camp in the Lower Zambezi National Park, Zambia.
The 28-year-old, originally from Zimbabwe, first spotted the elephant’s impressive talent while leading a safari with a group of visitors at the camp.
After watching the elephant for an hour they were stunned to witness the animal rear up on to his hind legs five times to reach into the top most parts of the tree.
Mr Oosthuizen said: ‘The vegetation is mostly tall trees and short grass bushes. Most of these trees in our area have pods on them and the elephants mostly shake the tree to get at these pods.
‘But this particular elephant stands up to pull whole branches down to get at the pods and the leaves and bark, so not a lot goes to waste.
‘There are also a group of younger elephants that follow this guy around to get at any scraps he may leave, they are still to young or small to be able to reach the pods.
‘As far as I know he is the only elephant in our area that can do this. From my observations it looks like he’s learnt it from somewhere.
‘This behaviour has never really been captured with a photograph.’ He added: ‘People are amazed to see this but in actual fact they must have seen this before years ago.
‘Someone must have seen it in the wild to be able to train these animals to do this in the circus.’
African elephants can stand up to 13 feet tall and weigh more than six tons.
The animals have four molar teeth, each weighing an incredible 11lbs and measuring around 12 inches long.
Their tusks are teeth, which elephants use to get food like roots and the bark of trees.
The average tusk weighs up to 100lbs and can measure up to eight feet long.
The elephant’s trunk lacks bone and cartilage but does contain 100,000 muscle units, this gives the animal an incredible dexterity and allows it to pick up very small objects.