Just the other day after leaving on our afternoon drive, we came across a large elephant bull. We sat and watched as the elephant contemplated an even larger Sweet Thorn (Acacia karoo). After much contemplation and nibbling on the outer branches of the tree the Elephant went to work…

Soon he was pushing and pulling the many stems of the tree, opening it up in order to get into its heart. After much flattening he settled down to eat the protected inner leaves and pull up some juicy roots. After he was satisfied and had debarked a significant section he then proceeded to push the tree back together, unfortunately the tree had been exposed to too much persuasion and remained open as a flower.

In drier times, trees store all of their carbohydrates in their roots and in the bark, just like in a carrot or potato. An elephant knows this. What they do is push over a tree to uproot it partly. This enables them to get their tusk and trunk around the bottom roots. They can actually flip a tree upside down in order to feed on the softer roots and strip the bark from the bottom of the tree. Elephants do push trees over to get to the top leaves but more often it is to get to the soft roots which are storing the energy – carbohydrates.