Chapter four – BANG!
The sound rings out through the forest.
Shanti smells something familiar, what is that?
She turns to see them, a different group of the strange standing animals. They appear through the trees and these ones seem angry.
They’re shouting and squeaking and one of them is holding a strange stick towards the sky.
‘BANG! BANG! BANG!’
The elephants run back towards the palm trees, confused and trumpeting in fear.
Furious, Mum runs towards the group of shouting animals, blowing her trunk and flapping her ears menacingly.
The jungle rings with the sound of banging and screeching elephants. The herd tear through the forest, through the neat palm trees and back into the undergrowth of their home.
They run, run, run, destroying everything in their way until they’re back, back where they were days ago. Back in the forest they recognise.
They startle a group of langur monkeys, arguing about whose fruit is whose. A rhinoceros hornbill calls in the canopy above them. A giant, bright blue butterfly lands on Shanti’s trunk. Slowly the herd start to relax. Deep in the jungle, surrounded by familiar animals, they feel safe again.
It’s only when they are milling around together, touching trunks and checking everyone is safe, that Shanti realises Mum is no longer with them.
They wait for hours but she doesn’t emerge. Day turns to night and then day again. The herd comfort each other, stroking one another with their trunks. They huddle close together and, although the jungle is alive with the sounds of animals, the elephants are quiet.
Over the next couple of days, one by one the herd start to eat, swim and bathe in mud, but Shanti won’t.
After days, one of the aunts decides it’s time to move on.
The next sunrise they start their journey, slowly plodding deeper into the jungle.
As her aunts, cousins and nieces lead the way, Shanti lags behind.
Suddenly she hears a noise.
Louder now, like…like an elephant.
The herd braces itself, could this be a rampaging bull elephant? They gather around the calves ready to fight.
The trees part. Into the clearing something charges…
Shanti and the herd are overjoyed, they trumpet and run their trunks over Mum. She’s back! One of her giant ears is missing the bottom part and her leg bears a new scar - but somehow it’s been treated with something and patched up.
The herd is complete again.
They travel on, more slowly now as Mum hobbles a little on her injured leg. Shanti walks by her side, touching her ears, her trunk, holding her tail until finally Mum is annoyed, batting her off, wanting her own space. But Shanti doesn't mind. She stays as close to Mum as she can.
The jungle is changing, it’s getting smaller and the smell of the strange animals is spreading, but they’re back together and together the herd are invincible.
Select a blog
A blog for lovers of ZSL London Zoo, bringing you extraordinary animal facts and exclusive access to the world's oldest scientific zoo.
Do you love wildlife? Discover more about our amazing animals at the UK's biggest zoo!
We're working around the world to conserve animals and their habitats, find out more about our latest achievements.
From the field to the lab, catch up with the scientists on the cutting edge of conservation biology at ZSL’s Institute of Zoology.
A day in Discovery and Learning at ZSL is never dull! The team tell us all about the exciting sessions for school children, as well as work further afield.
Ever wondered what a typical day as a zookeeper looks like, or what it's like to be a videographer at ZSL? Now you can find out!
Every month, one of the pieces held in ZSL’s Library and at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo will feature here as Artefact of the Month.
Read extracts from ZSL's award winning members' magazine, Wild About.
Get updates on our latest ranges, be the first to hear about special offers, and find the perfect gift for animal lovers!
The Chagos archipelago is a rare haven for marine biodiversity. Hear from the team about our projects to protect the environments in the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT).
ZSL Institute of Zoology researchers are embarking on an exciting fieldwork expedition to Nelson’s Island in the Chagos Archipelago. Throughout the month, the team will share their research and experiences on an uninhabited tropical island!
ZSL works across Asia, from the famous national parks of Nepal to marine protected areas in the Philippines. Read the latest updates on our conservation.
An Open Access journal for research at the interface of remote sensing, ecology and conservation.