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Sundiata

Something on elephants

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@Alexandermb, @Stan`, @Nescio, the topic of war elephants recently surfaced in the thread : ===[TASK]=== Animations Re-Export and Unit Meshes Fix 

I didn't want to muddle up the thread so I thought i'd start a more specific one. 

We were discussing whether the scales on the armor of Seleucid war elephants were turned upside down. I shared a page from a book on war elephants that stated that the Seleucids turned the scales on their elephant armor upside down for better protection against upward thrusts, but it didn't mention the original classical source. The same text also said that the Seleucids also switched to smaller numbers of African elephants in later years, because Indian elephants were becoming difficult to acquire. Again, the original source for this statement eludes us.

But I did find something very, very interesting. It had been staring me in the face all this time, and I never noticed... The wikipedia page on the now extinct North African Elephant (Loxodonta Africana Pharaohensis) features an image of a fragmented Roman bronze statue of a war-elephant, currently in the Staatliche Antikensammlungen in Munich.

It's an African war elephant with scales turned upside down

Roman_bronze_elephant_Staatliche_Antikensammlungen_SL_50_2.thumb.jpg.e6da15bce3043fd26a2aa2ee124b5f08.jpgRoman_bronze_elephant_Staatliche_Antikensammlungen_SL_50_1.thumb.jpg.fbb4e7b3dc4e7e975471b7f44e7c1665.jpg

 

Now, I don't know if this piece is supposed to depict a Roman, Seleucid or even Ptolemaic or Carthaginian war elephant, but it does show an African elephant, probably the smaller North African type with the unique, aforementioned type of armor, so I just had to share it...

 

Bonus:

Historical reenactors using actual African forest elephants for their Punic troops. African forest elephants, though rare, aren't extinct (yet). They have the same stature as the North African Elephant.  Note how "tiny" these elephants are compared to the enormous African Bush Elephant (and noticeably smaller than the Indian ones as well)...
Alexander, you see your colored Phrygian helmets? ;) 

Spoiler

 

repet-elephant-2-2.thumb.jpg.fb4eb637c4b7935867f385e2169b982c.jpg1409891086654.thumb.jpg.6be25d1a65e1aa5267b842a98b63e5ff.jpg6232ec7eba63dae734dd739e81657d7f.thumb.jpg.7e07c0b25edc684f6cf11ddec349c8cb.jpg41468648_1890019217746659_6905012394396993624_n.jpg.4e4838b2235ee32348ab74462033040d.jpgecqF5Pk.jpg.ac0dcdaa251dcb73f4c02855935f1f4f.jpg0b23282b5a71bfb5521616006f0a3a2d.jpg.6469773e82b693b4b85f44bc12dcf0a3.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

Second bonus, very rare historical photographs of Africans riding African elephants (most of these also look like forest elephants):

Spoiler

41654727_287571895163380_8404117347913680416_n.jpg.b5d139b1f4ac766ee74d2db8ff092d6b.jpg

40377586_472622359924795_5506895675221042790_n.thumb.jpg.9557c68f1aad73341be7d237b94379be.jpg61268555_302621590625139_5800596665671885819_n.jpg.99c0bcae86d62e962ee094645748d6d0.jpg54510815_339932609969471_3841476863225264446_n.thumb.jpg.8f893fa9c48209790a73ee6e3ade293f.jpg53190902_2172878376355778_7951125815010470512_n.thumb.jpg.c7ab6b1543849797a0d8f289deb2ff00.jpg53123476_363964750861450_8635661107130081438_n.jpg.8950b99dfcad1ab51afc1c41181a3103.jpg54237223_133367344382765_882176618541797737_n.jpg.f953715305f9293ca3a2287ec2b6a468.jpg52100190_257244141879683_4176710037182558483_n.thumb.jpg.20bf7598e421af372c6fdde7338c4639.jpg51830509_1221967937978902_8559836069956457846_n.thumb.jpg.6b1b57025174a829b7966a29b736ec42.jpg

 

 

Third bonus, people riding full sized African Bush Elephants. I've always been told that this is impossible, so imagine my confusion when my sister came back from a trip in Zimbabwe, telling me she took a ride on the back of an African Bush Elephant. She did tell me they're difficult to control, and they mostly sort of go where they want to go, lol, but it is apparently possible to ride them. If you're patient enough... 

Spoiler

970832_10201709438400454_156521692_n.thumb.jpg.9277e52225b1e25a010d3626d0992e04.jpg156318_10201709438120447_1959998973_n.jpg.d129aaa42535b78c72678c296767783d.jpg

elephant-back-safari-elephant-handlers-590x390.jpg.4172ba2491a87109dd23a10c2e1afd59.jpg

 

Jumbo, the tragic inspiration for Dumbo... The alcoholic elephant that was hit by a train and died.  "The giant elephant's name has spawned the common word, "jumbo," meaning large in size. Examples of his lexical impact are phrases like "jumbo jet", "jumbo shrimp," "jumbo marshmallows," and "jumbotron."" Now you know...

11439248-0-image-a-11_1553536808565.jpg.d62709833891619856832025a03147ec.jpg

 

In a movie called "The Believer", there's a scene depicting the failed Aksumite invasion of Mecca (Year of the Elephant), when Abraha, the Abyssinian (Ethiopian) governor of Southern Arabia tried to destroy the Kaaba. Abraha had brought between 1 and 20 elephants, but alas for Abraha, a flock of birds stoned the elephants to death, according to the Quran. Abraha was actually a real Abyssinian governor under King Kaleb of Axum, and I've seen a Greek source describing the shipping of elephants to Southern Arabia (Yemen) for the Aksumite campaign... Probably weren't the larger bush elephants depicted here though, although, just seeing that it's possible to manoeuvre these animals in formation has me doubting a little, whether it was really that impossible that larger bush elephants may have ever been used... Who knows...

972515624_AksumiteAxumiteAxumwarelephantsAbrahaArabiayearoftheelephantMeccaAbyssinianEthiopian.thumb.jpg.d89424c3e2d8ab9d3a83f858d769472b.jpg936401803_AksumiteAxumiteAxumwarelephantsAbrahaArabiayearoftheelephantMeccaAbyssinianEthiopian4.thumb.jpg.31f2de1a7239e363162cc2ead8ba56d2.jpg2115100317_AksumiteAxumiteAxumwarelephantsAbrahaArabiayearoftheelephantMeccaAbyssinianEthiopian5.thumb.jpg.668e73e14566d4a1ae6705cee30f59ed.jpg1797962196_AksumiteAxumiteAxumwarelephantsAbrahaArabiayearoftheelephantMeccaAbyssinianEthiopian3.thumb.jpg.2f87509943f745dcd4a2aad7248f9e12.jpg749357023_AksumiteAxumiteAxumwarelephantsAbrahaArabiayearoftheelephantMeccaAbyssinianEthiopian2.thumb.jpg.66a91d0bab73f80d49dfa1f570c907ee.jpg

 

 

4th Bonus

Bush elephant choreography? Anno early 1900's? Looks like some kind of forgotten colonial project/experiment... Not sure... Not even sure where this is...

Edited by Sundiata
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10 hours ago, Sundiata said:

Bush elephant choreography? Anno early 1900's? Looks like some kind of forgotten colonial project/experiment... Not sure... Not even sure where this is...

Do you have any hypotheses based on the landscape?

10 hours ago, Sundiata said:

Historical reenactors using actual African forest elephants for their Punic troops

I am still astonished by the fact that reenactors have an elephant.

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13 hours ago, Sundiata said:

It's an African war elephant with scales turned upside down

@Stan` does that mean i should remove the actual texture for historical accuracy or leave it as fancyness?

 

13 hours ago, Sundiata said:

Alexander, you see your colored Phrygian helmets? ;) 

:victory: Indeed, more references. I belive we have enough references to say they should go in, at least for champion spearman and leave athenian with bronze ones.

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1 hour ago, balduin said:

Do you have any hypotheses based on the landscape?

 

First I had an inkling that it was Congo. Then I did some digging. Now I'm pretty sure it's Congo. In 1899, King Leopold II of Belgium opened an elephant domestication center at Kira Vunga. Then operations switched to Api Elephant Domestication Center and then to Gangala-na-Bodio Elephant Domestication Center (North East Congo). At the height of the program they had as many as 80 domesticated elephants, used for maintaining roads, plowing fields and transportation. They hoped to use the elephants to haul cargo from the Congolese interior to the southern terminus for boats on the Nile at Rejaf, in the Lado Enclave in Sudan. (Yes, the Belgians also occupied a small part of South Sudan, something I've never in my life heard anything about, even though I grew up in Belgium. And people don't often mention that the Mahdists in Sudan were indeed fighting the Belgians in the South West (battle of Rejaf), in addition to the Italians and the Abyssinians in the South East and the British and Egyptians in the North, while the French were marching in from the West. Talk about being embattled...)

Anyway, back to the elephants... I found more images, and even an old school video. You can clearly see that they are mostly working with the smaller type of forest elephant, as they are much easier to control, but there's a handful of bush elephants as well if I'm not mistaken. If you look at the specific geographical range of forest elephants, you'll see that the domestication centres were located within the northern confines of their range, on the edge of area's that were also populated by the larger bush elephants. The actual capturing and training of the elephants was done by Azande (Zande) people. The program remained active until as late as the 1980's, but yeah, the Cold War wasn't so cold in Africa. Congo basically collapsed during the later rule of Mobutu, and still hasn't recovered. 

This colonial period video from 1942 is quite spectacular if you're interested in elephant handling and live capture of wild candidates for domestication... First time I've ever seen actual footage of people handling African forest elephants. They're well trained and the degree of control they exercise over these animals is impressive, especially towards the end, when they finally move in to tie the captured young elephant to the already tame ones, you can see that they follow precise commands. Also, the sheer strength of such "small" elephants isn't to be underestimated (said to be 10 to 20 times that of oxen)... 

 

Current range of the 2 remaining species of African elephant:

file-20190716-173347-tkv48n.thumb.png.83a60608d3fb999bee11a4b62a0e037d.png

 

Some physiological differences between the species 

14016246_f520.jpg.0d5ba13bd1aef6701dde095365f517f1.jpg

 

 

A lot more interesting images (have you ever seen an elephant used for ploughing?):

Spoiler

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olifanten-api.thumb.jpg.58997aeca3b8cfd13b12c107cb997149.jpg

1658905258_Uele-Elphants-domestiqus.jpg.2bbf70155df7e5586598f1611965b72d.jpg

olifanten-laru.jpg.21d99ded90c63c742c175e73e74ad68c.jpg

olifant-1925.jpg.2533469ce920fe4b03ec8879d3600497.jpg

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afriaebeitsele.thumb.jpg.5e1787162dd12ef5cf7f46423261a3e5.jpg

 

This guy looks more like the larger bush elephant to me...

36958339505_3b7bc60138_b.jpg.a57151ac50ced6a067e1b8ed38c6a890.jpg

739132323_Todayfourtrainedelephantsremain.TheGarambaRehabilitationProjecthascaughtmoreyoungelephantsthatarealsobeingtrainedforvisitoruse_1972.thumb.jpg.2f36cbef6097f35e892f8628892d7754.jpg

eepa_10138.thumb.jpg.ffa9ece2ec23e18a66145b7131178e80.jpg

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Truly, one of Congo's untold histories. Documentary level interesting if you ask me...

 

1 hour ago, balduin said:

I am still astonished by the fact that reenactors have an elephant.

I too, have questions...

 

Edited by Sundiata
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4 hours ago, Alexandermb said:
18 hours ago, Sundiata said:

@Stan` does that mean i should remove the actual texture for historical accuracy or leave it as fancyness?

The best would be that either you or @Enrique would rebake it, you have all the files :)

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1 minute ago, wowgetoffyourcellphone said:

Dude, I'm keeping the old texture for DE. It's completely badass.

I'm definitely not deleting it :)

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6 hours ago, Alexandermb said:

@Stan` does that mean i should remove the actual texture for historical accuracy or leave it as fancyness?

1 hour ago, Stan` said:

The best would be that either you or @Enrique would rebake it, you have all the files :)

Well, the text that mentioned these upward facing scales talks about it as an innovation, or a development. So it's probably not how they were originally armored... 

I'd say, keep both textures!

If you want to get fancy, perhaps add a tech for the Seleucid elephants. A special pachyderm scale armor tech, or something, that increases their health by 5% or so? 

1 hour ago, wowgetoffyourcellphone said:

Dude, I'm keeping the old texture for DE. It's completely badass.

By all means, I never intended to argue for the removal of the old texture. I was just merely pointing out that 1) they did indeed use upward facing scales, and 2) that the claim that they moved to the use of North African elephants in later years isn't an absurd one.

 

@Alexandermb I was also meaning to ask if you could check the Hero Arakamani's mount in-game. He was using an Indian elephant in alpha 23 (yikes)... It should definitely be African, but it should still be bigger than the other Kushite war-elephants. Perhaps using a large bull as the King's elephant. Basically, bigger than the current North African elephants, but still a little bit smaller than the wild gaia bush -elephants.  So we basically get this effect:

901563347_AksumiteAxumiteAxumwarelephantsAbrahaArabiayearoftheelephantMeccaAbyssinianEthiopian4.thumb.jpg.6babc1cc24f6250cd668626357e62912.jpg

Small, standard elephants with a single rider, and the large King's elephant with a tower. But still all African, no Indian elephants here. 

 

My second question :P is whether you could model a tower based on this Aksumite tower from the movie. I'm not saying this is more accurate per-se (I have no idea what a Kushite tower looked like) but Arakamni is currently standing upright in a heavy Carthaginian howdah. I'd prefer him to be sitting down in a more lightweight "African" looking howdah. Like this:

261906119_AksumiteAxumiteAxumwarelephantsAbrahaArabiayearoftheelephantMeccaAbyssinianEthiopian3.thumb.jpg.8af7ab7c0b1049b2f22ee74beca9be68.jpg

It just feels more believable somehow... (the stuffed lion-head isn't necessary) 

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Ok, one more mystery solved. You know how I was saying that some of the elephants look like the larger Bush Elephants? Well, according to this interesting National Geographic article, about the significant genetic differences between the two species of African elephants, there was some interbreeding between the species, and at least a small number of Bush elephants carry mitochondrial DNA from forest elephants... It just so happens that the elephants from Garamba, the location of the domestication centers, are considered a hybrid between forrest and bush elephants... At least according to wikipedia. If you look at the map of the geographical range of the two species across Africa, shared in previous post, you'll notice that even today, the territories of Bush Elephants and Forest elephants are right next to each other in Garamba (North East Congo/ South Sudan border region)

Some other interesting quotes from the National Geographic article:

Quote

The African elephant is actually two different species, according to a new DNA study that may settle a long-simmering debate.

"The big surprise of this paper," though, is just how genetically different the African savanna elephant and the African forest elephant are, co-author David Reich said.

According to the new research, the two major types of African elephants are about as genetically distinct from each other as the Asian elephant is from the extinct woolly mammoth.

The two apparent African elephant species appear to have evolved from a common ancestor between two and a half million and five million years ago—nearly as long ago as the human and chimpanzee lineages diverged, according to some genetic studies.

A 2001 study in the journal Science included the first DNA evidence that the savanna and forest elephants are separate species.

But then other studies showed that at least a small number of savanna elephants shared mitochondrial DNA—genetic information passed down from only mothers—with forest elephants.

This "proved there was some interbreeding within at least the past 500,000 years," Reich explained.

But that limited interbreeding isn't evidence that the two elephant types are from the same species, he said. It's just an example of interspecies hybridization, relatively common in the animal world, ha added.

 

20 minutes ago, Trinketos said:

Also i dont have the balls to se the video :(

Why? No elephants were killed, though the capturing of that young specimen must have been super stressful for the poor animal.  

 

You know what comes next right? Some more pictures of people riding African forests elephants! yay! :) I'm sorry, I've become totally fascinated by this...

Spoiler

miu-2149.thumb.jpg.f92864ea662ed629fc36b929a75915ef.jpgitv-archive-shutterstock-editorial-761774ep.thumb.jpg.a4413f3e138cbaeafcc0a52671d5f2a8.jpgElesHippo-Scan-3000dpi.jpg.57a082abed7df61737d5291d281cc9a2.jpgDRCconservation2.jpg.2fe3760946b97493b71d5f3845113630.jpgmiu-2159.thumb.jpg.c135671246f4d28f943e8369fcb647ce.jpgsite_0136_0001-750-0-20151104165200-860x450_c.jpg.9eecdb57697842b90409bf4acfa8ae58.jpgunnamed.jpg.f6fcf85351d4ea75d2c3feb34028e220.jpg

Pretty sure that last elephant isn't larger than Jumbo...

 

 

In recent decades Zimbabwe seems to have taken over the torch... Except they use Bush Elephants instead. People doing the impossible... Riding full grown African Bush Elephants like it ain't nothing but a thing... Not without controversy of course... And the fact that a number of handlers have actually been killed by their elephants over the years does illustrate the difficulty in handling the largest land animal on the planet:

Spoiler

elephants-standing-in-formation-with-their-trainers.thumb.jpg.b510e367210aaf5dcd207f098738841a.jpg

tour_img-155179-145.jpg.b82234584ca72529d3cb178537d1d594.jpgVictoria-Falls-Elephant-Back-Safari.jpg.1cefb6394f1bfc231b260c925c92032d.jpguntitledNNN.png.b3736c72bb2832adf596ee91244fab63.pngpart-1-riding-the-elephant.jpg.340f052bfc59aa61da8d72acafeb49ff.jpg

Elephant-Back-Safaris-Victoria-Falls.jpg.81fd0b8b92ea237bf47d402830c4e659.jpg

5dc1d101038b0e3e2a5f2d67b12c7113.jpg.5df6c09eab086bd78f9241fb9790aec2.jpgenock1.jpg.06f39c370a86f0079f3cd90f3ba578f8.jpg

 

Random internet comment from a guy who said he's a mahout, said that they control Indian Elephants through pressure points in the neck, but because African elephants have much thicker and looser skin, those pressure points are hard to reach. Another possible explanation for why training African elephants is so difficult? Either way, consider the myth busted. African elephants, both types, are trainable. It's just harder. 

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15 hours ago, wowgetoffyourcellphone said:

Dude, I'm keeping the old texture for DE. It's completely badass.

Not really sure about that, TBH its quite simple and i can say even the maurya champion elephant looks way better and still lacks imperfections and details in the texture if i compare them. 

if you look it properly, not that im saying mine is better or actual one is worst, im looking in all the perspectives possible and it doesn't have too much details to be very atractive neither to be accurate. is just an armor following a kind of artistic "design" wich is metal with faked reflections wich being honestly in my opinion Ruins everything because it looks more like a spotted metal with overbrigthened zones.



Comparing the two champions elephants:

Spoiler

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If i had to decide about wich armor design choose, i will go straight to the maurya elephant.

Maurya armor is quite simple and honestly it looks waaaaay better than seleucid armored elephant:

Spoiler

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This squares looks like metal plaques yet only would require some waves like if it was knitted to be perfect:

Spoiler

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The cloth shadows are just perfect and the golden band i don't know if its metal or ift just a golden cloth but yet it still looks good whitout having reflected bake:

Spoiler

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The only pieces i could say they are quite good are:

Spoiler

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Thought this spots ruins the detail:

Spoiler

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The scales of the band's dosn't even match none of the 3 colors of the scales:

Spoiler

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This border cutted in the neck, reaaaaaallly looks baddly:

Spoiler

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Look how it change his tone baddly just from the side's straight to the back:

Spoiler

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This band should continue and not just end back in the tail:

Spoiler

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The tone of the scales change from orange to  some kind of yellow-Green overly desaturated:

Spoiler

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Look this white stripes like if it was a 256x256 texture:

Spoiler

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im not removing it, neither disabling it but seriously this doesn't have any attractive in my humble opinion nor add something accurate now that we found that they used inverted scales.

I can also say that my last bake does have imperfections too, yet im very limited to situations of resources using this laptop to make a huge totally accurate design. i reach 200k tris and done i start to stutter, related to subdivide modifier wich is the one who makes the meshes looks better for bake (Bug know in all blender community they are working in a new subdivide modifier), i can't say the guy who did this didn't faced this issue in that time, yet i belive in the actual standards it could be better.

Spoiler

image.png


Honestly, i belive you are more afraid of changes and got too much attached to the actual concept or "design" just like "fake reflections" and texture quality.

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"A Carthaginian shekel, dated 237–227 BC, depicting the Punic god Melqart (equivalent of Hercules/Heracles), most likely with the features of Hamilcar Barca, father of Hannibal Barca; on the reverse is a man riding a war elephant" Carthago Nova, Spain:

798429020_CarthagoNovac220BCpossiblyHamilcarBarca.jpg.1fe58ad52297bf98c6461f5a3afc0c63.jpg

I noticed Hamilcar doesn't have a unit portrait yet. It's always nice to base a portrait on an actual period depiction of the person, so this coin should be very useful towards that end. 

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Hi all :) i did talk with @Alexandermb about carthaginian elephants. They are using indian elephants models since last elephant update. My question is if they have indian elephants or north african / bush elephants or other variety of elephants? i agree they have north africans in history. @Sundiata  / communtiy: Wuts ur opinion?

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19 hours ago, Hidan said:

Hi all :) i did talk with @Alexandermb about carthaginian elephants. They are using indian elephants models since last elephant update. My question is if they have indian elephants or north african / bush elephants or other variety of elephants? i agree they have north africans in history. @Sundiata  / communtiy: Wuts ur opinion?

Carthaginians used the North African species of elephant (see the Carthaginian coin in my previous post). 

Hannibal had an elephant named "Surus", which has lead some to believe that he may have had a "Syrian" elephant (only 1). 

Quote

Hannibal had a war elephant known as "Surus"; it has been suggested to mean "the Syrian". It was said by Cato to have been his best (and biggest) elephant.[8] In that case, the elephant may have been of Seleucid stock. If it were in fact of native Syrian stock, or an imported Indian elephant, remains subject to speculation.

So maybe only Hannibal specifically could possibly use an imported Syrian/Indian elephant.

 

Bonus, some more African forest elephants being ridden:

1905473655_RidingAfricanforestelephant.thumb.jpg.747c103d375ce6c1acfcd54b8ba863ce.jpg

 

1682875050_Africanelephantsforest.thumb.jpg.11aa3eb489a94e3a8a703d509d7a95cc.jpg

 

 

And African bush elephants:

1699342137_Africanelephantriding.thumb.jpg.6534cf6910c5790bea4c1a733128716b.jpg

 

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