Two young elephants engage in an adorable play fight, their trunks intertwined, at South Africa’s Addo Elephant National Park. These captivating images, captured by photographer Anne Laing, showcase the elephants’ journey of learning to use their trunks. Ms. Laing, who hails from Pretoria, South Africa, shared that while Addo is home to various wildlife, her main focus is on photographing elephants. She spends entire days at the park, from sunrise to sunset, capturing the beauty of these magnificent creatures.
The two young elephants got their trunks in a twist during a play fight
The two elephants were photographed tangling their trunks at the Addo Elephant National Park in South Africa
‘Twisting trunks is something young elephants do to while play-fighting but it also teaches them how to fully control their trunks.
They are also mimicking adult behaviour as this is a form of greeting.
‘Until they’re three months old they don’t have control of their trunks and they just flop around but as they get older they have to be able to use them as humans would use an arm, hand and straw – for drinking water.’
Ms Laing, who has been a photographer for around 35 years, also caught the elephants drinking and spraying water on one another.
She said: ‘Water is critical to elephants as they need to drink every day, with adults drinking up to 150 litres per day.
‘In one of the photographs after drinking they use their trunks to spray their bodies with water to keep cool.
‘They often have to walk many miles to find water to drink and then walk many more miles away from the water again so need to try and keep cool.’
Ms Laing also photographed the touching moment a mother stroked her baby using her trunk.
She said: ‘The mother is caressing her baby elephant with her trunk – their trunks are very sensitive to touch.’
Ms Laing has built up an impressive portfolio during her career, having taken pictures from sporting events such as the rugby, cricket and football World Cups in South Africa, France and England, as well as the Rio Olympics in 2016.
She added that she tries to go on ‘as many wildlife trips as possible’ and also hopes to photograph at the next Rugby World Cup and Tokyo 2020 Olympics.