Life’s harsh realities become strikingly apparent when venturing into the wild, especially when exploring the different game parks of Africa. During a trip to Chobe National Park in Botswana, we came across the remains of a dead elephant. It’s impossible not to feel a pang of sympathy for the fallen giant, but upon reflection, this grim spectacle is an integral part of the intricate web of life. Even in death, the elephant continued to sustain numerous creatures and insects.

A young elephant dies

This was obviously a relatively young elephant that had either succumbed to the relentless grasp of lions or other formidable predators (including poachers) or died of natural causes. Nature wastes no time in assembling a congregation of scavengers to feast on the macabre banquet.

We could understand that a Tawny Eagle would find the remains attractive, but we were surprised to see a Slender Mongoose come as well to inspect the remains.

A gathering of vultures

As can be seen in the video below, vultures and an egret took centre stage in this morbid theatre, while a host of flies and insects also joined the feast. It’s not a scene that one typically lingers on, but being avid bird enthusiasts, we found ourselves captivated by the intriguing dynamics of the vulture flock as they moved in and out of the elephant.

The stark truth is that death, though grim, plays an indispensable role in nourishing the multitude of life forms that populate these untamed landscapes.

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Jane is an avid birder and nature enthusiast, whose deep love for travel, camping and exploring the natural world knows no bounds. Assisted by her nature-loving husband, Rob, a skilled photographer, they form a dynamic duo dedicated to visiting remote and breathtaking landscapes. With their camera lenses as their creative instruments, they capture the beauty of birds and wildlife, all while advocating tirelessly for conservation.

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