Unbreakable Bonds: Elephants Unite to Shield Newborn from a Threatening Bull

Witnessing the splendor of elephants in their natural habitat is a heartwarming spectacle, a poignant display of emotion and kinship not unlike that seen among humans.

Like us, these gentle giants form enduring bonds and exhibit a broad spectrum of emotions, from affection to anger.

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The elephant family walks in a protective formation. Source: Instagram/Peter Delaney

A typical characteristic of elephant societies is their deep-rooted protection for their young ones. At the hint of danger, the herd forms a barricade around the young, raising a racket and swaying their ears to safeguard the vulnerable.


One such episode occurred when a bull elephant attempted to wrench a baby away from its mother.

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Bull elephant tries to separate mother and baby. Source: Instagram/Peter Delaney

The anguished cry of the newborn elephant was met with swift action from the herd. They encircled the little one; their trunks outstretched in a comforting gesture that affirmed the safety and love the baby was guaranteed, a love that would persist eternally.

My fascination with monochromatic photography bloomed after I stumbled upon Don McCullins A Retrospective’ during a lunch break in London.


I spent the ’80s/’90s working as a money broker. Further inspiration came from wildlife artists Kim Donaldson and David Shepherd, whose work profoundly impacted my style and appreciation for color photography.

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Elephant bull kicks newborn. Source: Instagram/Peter Delaney
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Mothers and aunts give reassurance to the young. Source: Instagram/Peter Delaney

This incident was particularly poignant as my wife, Nicolinah, and our three-year-old son, Neo, accompanied me during the shoot.

The sight of the bull mistreating the young elephant was hard to stomach, their troubled reactions a testimony to the event’s intensity.


Ultimately, the herd’s collective action to safeguard their young gave birth to the photograph “Bonds of Love,” we departed with a lighter heart.

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Moment of elephant tenderness. Source: Instagram/Peter Delaney
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The mother gazes at the newborn. Source: Instagram/Peter Delaney
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Young sibling shows love to the newborn. Source: Instagram/Peter Delaney

The art of black and white photography, especially wildlife and landscape, is my solace. It’s my conduit to rejuvenate my connection with nature and nourish my spirit.

The satisfaction derived from seeing people connect emotionally to my prints is unmatchable. It’s an opportunity to bring them joy, a spark of happiness, or a nostalgic moment.


The entire journey of being a wildlife photographer brings me immense joy, from capturing serene landscapes to engaging with my clientele.

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Elephant sibling watches newborn. Source: Instagram/Peter Delaney
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Newborn takes cover between mother and aunt. Source: Instagram/Peter Delaney
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Mother shows tenderness to the young. Source: Instagram/Peter Delaney

This fulfilling process is what I want to dedicate my life to. I’ve always had a deep-seated passion for Africa, and moving to South Africa two decades ago made becoming a wildlife photographer a natural transition. It felt less like a choice and more like a calling.

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The elephant family encircles the newborn. Source: Instagram/Peter Delaney
Newborn suckles her mother. Source: Instagram/Peter Delaney
Bonds of love. Source: Instagram/Peter Delaney

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