Meet Pele the Baby Elephant: A Dung Football Champ in South Africa!

An endearing sight unfolded in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve in South Africa, where a baby elephant was spotted showing off his unique football talents – with a dung ball.

The playful calf took center stage, fascinating tourists with his incredible skills as he twirled and kicked the dung-turned-football, seemingly perfecting his drag-back technique, followed by a swift turn and dribble.

Onlookers were treated to a special show as the baby elephant charged toward the dung-ball from a distance.

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They punted it with his front leg, sending the ball a good meter away. It was all part of the game, as the young elephant appeared to feign irritation, swinging his trunk about and aiming another kick at the ball.

The cute calf spins and kicks the makeshift ball with his feet as he shows off for tourists in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve in South Africa. Source: Latest Sightings

The sighting was captured by Dylan Royal, a guide from andBeyond Kirkman’s Kamp, during his drive on September 30th. Starting the day to spot a leopard, Dylan found himself amidst a small elephant herd.

According to Mr. Royal, the little elephant and his improvised football game were quite a surprise. He recalled, “The smallest calf suddenly emerged from the bushes, fully engrossed with his dung ball. It seemed like he was so deeply involved in his game, he didn’t even realize he had an audience.”

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Dylan shared that watching young elephants can be entertaining due to their adventurous and curious nature.

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He even masters the perfect drag back (pictured) before sharply turning and taking the muck for a dribble. Source: Latest Sightings

This dung-ball game, however, was one of the most amusing and heartwarming experiences he’d witnessed, prompting him to share, “The calf’s remarkable skills and his innovative use of all four legs to control the ball were awe-inspiring.”

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Taking a long run-up, the baby sprints towards the dung and kicks it with his front leg – sending it around a meter. Source: Latest Sightings

As his recording ended, the game seemed to lose its charm for the baby elephant. Sensing the absence of the camera, he lost interest in his dung-ball and rejoined his herd as they ventured further into the bush.

This appears to annoy him as he whips his trunk around and launches his front right leg at the ball. Source: Latest Sightings
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Dylan had parting advice for anyone fortunate enough to witness such enchanting interactions in the wild. He suggested, “Stay longer and keep your camera rolling whenever you encounter such a spectacle. You never know when the next unmissable moment might unfold.”

The young pachyderm was spotted by Dylan Royal, a guide at andBeyond Kirman’s Kamp, while he was driving on September 30. Source: Latest Sightings
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