As seen in this heartwarming clip, a herd of elephants was delighted to frolic in the visitors’ pool at a South African game reserve.
Andrew Schofield, 34, the general manager of Bukela Game Lodge on the Amakhala Game Reserve, captured the video as giant animals approached him within feet.
The lone bull elephant emerges from the woods and initially approaches the high-sided plunge pool.
The elephant remains stationary for a few seconds before dipping its trunk into the water and beginning to drink.
Mr. Schofield was unaware that the rest of the herd was close by at the moment. Several calves and other adult elephants emerged from the bush and began splashing in the cooling water after more than a minute.
Mr. Schofield stated he had spent the previous ten years working in a game lodge, establishing a solid relationship with the elephant family. They are eager to come near when he is around – even allowing the calves to take a dip at the pool.
Mr. Schofield observed: ‘I was amused that the herd felt confident enough to bring their children so close to the pool while I was there since they usually are extremely cautious and will keep little ones at a safe distance from any strange figure or presence.’
They thoroughly enjoyed the cool refreshment, which was a balmy 38 degrees Celsius, and I believe they felt pretty safe and relaxed drinking with my presence right there, almost to the point that they thought I had permitted them to do so.
‘I adored every minute of their behavior; I was having a full-on time and delight while lying on the other side of the pool. ‘
It’s even more astonishing seeing how things used to be before Mr. Schofield started working with them.
He continued, ‘I’ve been working with this herd for the past decade because they had been acting badly around the lodge and guests. It wasn’t in any life-threatening way; rather, it was due to their enormous size that they were destructive.’
I’ve been teaching social cues and establishing boundaries for the elephant herds just by being there and respectfully stating our limitations.
‘Especially around the pools, I make sure I’m around when they’re there to educate our visitors but also interact with the herd and demonstrate when and how it’s safe to drink from the pool.’
Every three to four days, the elephants are observed at the resort enjoying their fill of pool water, which is regarded to be their primary source of water in the region.
‘The chlorine has no harm for the elephants,’ he continued. ‘They have a weak digestive system to begin with, and drink a lot of water every day, so any unusual solutions in the pool water are quickly absorbed.’