There are some new beasts in soccer and they won’t be entering the World Cup anytime soon. The reason? They’ve got a bit of a size advantage than the regular players!
So who are these new soccer stars? They’re baby elephants living at the Wildlife Trust nursery in Nairobi, Kenya! The elephants are orphans, most likely because people working in the ivory trade have killed their families. To ensure their survival, they’re brought to the nursery, where they live off of a milk formula and husbandry plan until they’re able to become independent. Though the amount of time this takes depends on the elephant, most are released to live a free life on the Tsavo East National Park by the age of ten.
In the meantime, however, it seems that their favorite way to pass the time is by playing soccer. “Elephants naturally kick things about,” explained Joyce Poole, the co-director of Elephant Voices. “When they’re out in the bush, they’ll pick things up, like sticks or rocks, and kick things. They do a lot with their feet and trunks…They particularly like to use their back feet. It’s called play kick-back.” These skills would certainly come in handy if the elephants were able to compete in the world cup, but their extra two legs would certainly give them an advantage! Their love of playing outside the rules would also pose a bit of an issue; many enjoy headbutting each other, as well as curling up on the ground with their trunk wrapped around the ball.
Despite how their tendency to play against the rules would complicate the World Cup, it would certainly make it one interesting game! I think I speak for most of the public when I say; we’d turn the other cheek for these adorable soccer pros any day if we could watch them pound around and get ‘trunky’!
With over 150 orphaned infants saved, there’s no slowing down for this orphanage, and they could use our help! Let’s make sure all orphaned elephants have the chance to have this great of a childhood!
Also, check out the full video of the orphaned elephants playing soccer! Maybe we can have a real world cup for them next year!