Written By: Leah Miller
African Elephants live by a matriarchal system. This is where one female is the main elephant of the herd. This female is usually the oldest and most experienced out of everyone.
Our herd is unique, we do not have a matriarch, we have a circle hierarchy. Instead of having just one female in charge of everyone, all of our adult females are dominant over each other. Matjeka is dominant over Mbali, Mbali is dominant over Ellie, and Ellie is dominant over Matjeka. This is a very unique system and could change at any point!
Our herd also includes two adorable juvenile females. These young girls do not have a place in the hierarchy system yet. Over time they will fall into the hierarchy. Right now, their job is to learn from their mothers and other adult females on birthing and caring for young. As their mothers birth more offspring they will become the “babysitter” to those younger siblings and cousins. This is important because it teaches them the roles of being a first-time mother.
Even though African Elephant females play an important role in the herd, another important role is that of the male elephants. As juveniles, they socialize and live in the herd with the females, but as they grow into adolescents they will slowly be pushed out. Male African Elephants can live a solitary life or in a small bachelor herd. When they are ready to breed, they will venture out to find a herd of females. After they are done breeding they will return to their bachelor herds not taking the responsibility of raising the calf. Our male, Sdudla, actually socializes with our females on a regular basis which allows for the calves in our herd to learn the normal social interactions males and females will have.
Bring your families and get up-close to our herd of African elephants while on the Expedition Africa Safari Tram. You can even get a closer look at the largest land animal on earth during an African Elephant Backstage experience, book one HERE.