Forest Elephants – The Architects of the Rainforest

ORF-E | 2023
1 x 52 min

From the distance it looks like a dancing snake on top of the dense rainforest vegetation. Next two long pinkish tusks appear underneath out of the dense rainforest vegetation. They belong to a bull elephant observing the massive Kongou Falls like a stunned tourist. Standing on the very edge of this remote natural wonder in Central Gabon’s Ivindo National Park he sniffs for potential dangers. Suddenly the animal wearing a collar to collect scientific data on its travels and behavior starts maneuvering the slippery rocks right above the sharp ascent of the waterfall. Carefully positioning one foot in front of the other an unlikely stunt takes shape: “He’s out for a delicacy, worth taking the risk”, whispers Eco-Guide Gislain Botsika in awe, “the vegetables of the falls.” In Gabon elephants are considered as neighbors, sharing almost the entire country with humans. Most people however measure them up as difficult neighbors, threatening their livelihoods and even their lives. Therefore, conservation starts with good will and tolerance of local communities for a species known to make the rainforest accessible by building pathways and reproducing it by disseminating seeds of trees.

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