A friend recently asked me if I had ever seen a drunk animal and I was reminded of my near encounter with a drunk elephant in Kibale National Park.
The park is located 25km out of Fort Portal town, Kabarole district and it’s mostly known for chimpanzees with about 1500 of them. However, it’s also home to 375 bird species and 70 mammal species which include giant forest hogs, bush pigs, bushbucks and forest elephants among others.
As we trekked through the forest in search of chimpanzees, it became more evident that we were likely going to run into an elephant because of the gigantic footsteps in the ground.
“I wonder how big my foot is compared to that of an elephant?” I thought to myself as I attempted to fit my foot into one of the steps. Believe me you, both my feet couldn’t fill it, I needed an extra pair or 10.
An elephant is the biggest land mammal weighing about 2,600kg to 6,000kg, that’s about 92 times my body weight (insert mind blown emoji). So you can imagine what it’s like for the grass every time this majestic animal steps on it.
About an hour into the trek, we found a tree seed on the ground about the size of a mango, and our guide told us that the elephants love it because it makes them drunk.
I burst out laughing at the mere thought of a drunk elephant. “How does it act like? Does it randomly hug the trees and play tag with chimpanzees? Or does it fly high like dumbo?” I wonder if it also tells its friends, “I swear, this is the last time” every time it’s nursing a hangover?
An elephant is often referred to as the animal that never forgets because of its intellect. Its brain weighs about 11-13 pounds and that’s 4 times the size of the human brain. So you can imagine what it’s like for a drunk elephant, poor thing will remember all its bad decisions the next day and it can’t play the amnesia card.
The guide also told us that one of his friends slightly tasted the fruit and he was drunk for the rest of the day. l like to try different things but I wasn’t about to taste this fruit. The thought of being reincarnated as an elephant and being hunted for my ivory was unsettling.
Unfortunately, I didn’t get to see a drunk elephant that day but the guide was kind enough to share his encounter with one. He said they tend to have erratic behaviors and will just ram into trees since they can’t think straight. And what was shocking to him, is that they keep coming back for the fruit.
The name of the tree or the fruit still remains unknown up to this day.