Young bull elephants go for 20 years under the care and companionship of an older bull. We call the youngsters askaris after the Swahili word for soldiers, the big old bull being like a captain over these rambunctious fellows. They get pretty big too and many will be as big or almost as big as the oldest bull.
Sometimes they can also bully each other and this is what one of the elephants I was watching was doing. Dominance hierarchy is what they are all about and they tussle and wrestle constantly testing each others strength.
These two fellows were tussling on the edge of the waterhole and then took the match into the water. They kept at it for quite a while and the other elephants had already moved off a little way. Then the victor would not let the other one exit the waterhole and it gets intense. I mean 3-4 tons on each side and they were shoving each other around…. it was hectic.
The old bull noticed what was happening and came over pushed the bully over to one side and let the other one out of the water. Then it was time for a little disciplinary talk. Ha! Boy when the old one came over he looked pretty upset with what was happening and unceremoniously pushed the bully away. The bully knew what was up next for sure. Then the little group gathered around again and slowly made their way away into the bush.
Elephants are really amazing to watch and they communicate their feelings and their thoughts so well. It is wonderful to watch. Come and explore Africa and you will find out it is true.