Filmmaker Explains How He Captured A Rare Elephant Birth

(Photo by ARUN SANKAR/AFP via Getty Images)

Melanie Wilcox Contributor
Font Size:

A filmmaker captured footage of a desert elephant giving birth in Namibia as part of a National Geographic series that will air April 21.

Emmy Award-winning cinematographer Bob Poole heard elephants making loud noises, and so he had a feeling a birth was about to arrive, The Week reported.(RELATED: Baby Elephant Interrupts Kenyan Reporter And Immediately Becomes A Star)

“I just jumped to my camera and started rolling,” Poole told The Week. “All I saw were these legs, and I zoomed right into the middle of the action. It was just a pile of legs, and then they kind of separated and revealed this blob of soaking wet dark flesh.”

Poole, who has been filming wildlife for more than 40 years, said this was the first time he witnessed a live animal birth, which he called “extraordinary.”

“It was one of those things you just can’t believe it’s actually happening,” he told The Week.

The documentary series, “Secrets of the Elephants,” explains how elephants operate on their own, with families and in herds.

“They are so much like us, you get the sense they have an understanding of who they are individually and how they fit in their family and how important their families are to them,” Poole told The Week. “Not just their babies, but their relatives. They mourn the death of their relatives and seek out favorite playmates. They have friends. They are so much like us all the way around. It’s very special in so many ways and anybody who spends time with them gets to feel that and see it very quickly.”