On a visit to the Addo Elephant National Park photographer Jean du Plessis came across this baby elephant full of the joys of life. It clearly wanted to play tag, but its playmate wasn’t so sure.

Photographer Jean du Plessis describes his experience:

This was my first extended trip to the Addo Elephant National Park and what a pleasant surprise! We spent eight days and had brilliant sightings: we saw hundreds of elephants, hyena, even caracal. I took over 20 000 photos. But the highlight was undoubtedly the surprising behaviour of a baby elephant.

We were on our afternoon drive when we came across a large elephant herd not too far from the main camp. We stopped to see if anything would happen. I always say you need to be patient.

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At first all the elephants were just standing around, but suddenly a little bull started chasing after an ostrich. It looked as if he wanted to chase it away. I’d never seen such a thing, it was very funny.

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The little elephant managed to chase the ostrich off, but the peace didn’t last for long. Without any warning the herd started running – perhaps the ostrich had circled round and spooked them?

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Have you ever seen a herd of around 50 elephants stampeding? It’s an impressive sight. What struck me was how the older elephants try to protect the little ones. They run on either side of them so that they are kept safe.

Within seconds the elephants had disappeared into the spekboom forest. I go to game parks every year and I have never seen a baby elephant chase an ostrich.

Camera information

Canon 1DX camera; Canon 500mm F4 lens with 1.4 extension converter = total focal length of 700mm; 1/1000 second exposure; 800 ISO; F11.

Tips for shooting wildlife

Jean du Plessis is a widely published photographer with a passion for the desertscapes of Namibia. He shares his tips for getting good wildlife images.

  • Be patient. Spend some time at a waterhole, the animals will come there eventually.
  • Try to anticipate what the animal will do and get into the right position.
  • Hope Lady Luck smiles on you, but give her the chance to do so. We spend all day out in the park, leaving when the gate opens and coming back only when it closes.

To view more images visit Jean du Plessis online.