If we polled our fair women readers, chances are a high percentage will claim that men never grow up, and are metaphorically attached to their momma’s skirts. We men can take solace from the fact that we aren’t alone in this particular affliction. In Kabini, there exists a lad who’s the biggest baby of them all, both literally and figuratively! Coming into the world at a whopping 77 to 113 kg (coincidentally, where most of us men end up), the Elephant Calf has an officially sanctioned infancy of up to ten years. This means he can be fussed over, fed, and generally babied without worrying about his reputation. In fact, this pampered brat takes refuge behind scientific studies that show how this mollycoddling is actually critical to his educational development! With a brain approximately 30% the size of his mother’s (we shan’t share this section with our women readers lest they draw the inevitable comparisons with their men) the majority of the newborn calf’s brain development will happen outside the womb. This explains why he is constantly surrounded by well-meaning women telling him what do (the story of our lives too…sigh!). In fact, while his biological mother takes the lead in this role, she’s assisted by several foster moms who all step in to let free rein to their maternal instincts. This prolonged and intimate kinship is critical to the calf’s development, because, along with all the milk and food, he is also fed a steady diet of elephant lore and survival skills to equip him for the world outside. But that’s in the distant future, and today is a time when he feeds, rests, travels, rests, plays, rests… like there is no tomorrow (yeah, yeah, we get it; you women don’t have to give those knowing looks!), secure in the liberating comfort of a band of mothers ready to baby him at the drop of a hat.
We at Orange County have loved sharing this story with you, and shall bring you one every fortnight, as part of our Responsible Tourism Initiatives to raise awareness about the nature and culture of the environments we operate in.