Planet Earth

There's a Lot of Junk in this Wild African Trunk


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During the dry season, when water is low, an elephant will dig holes to find water, drawing up to two gallons at a time with its trunk. Though these open wells are created by elephants, other wildlife also depend on them for survival. After elephants leave an area, smaller animals rush to the watering holes dug by the elephants. Elephants are essential for creating worn paths through the thick forests, excavating trees in the open savannahs, and unearthing water wherever it is needed.

Photographer Alex Bernasconi hopes these images invite us to reflect on our relationship to the natural world. Bernasconi is motivated by a sense of urgency to counteract the destruction of nature: "It is the stark contrast between the environment in which we are accustomed to live and the one we are putting in jeopardy that has impelled me to photograph and record the natural world. It is the wilder places that preserve intact the primeval emotions that lie dormant in all of us. These are the essence of life."

Photo of elephant taking a dust bath--a coating of dust can help repel insects and sun.

All images from

Wild Africa

by Alex Bernasconi, Firefly Books, 2010

Lion harassed by a bee at Okavango Delta in Botswana.

Tributaries of the river delta as it flows into the Atlantic Ocean near Luderitz in Namibia.

A bull elephant in the Okavango Detla, Botswana.

A herd of Wildebeest in migration to the Masai Mara territory in Kenya. 

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