Of the four guides we had while on safari, Easy (short for Ezikiel) has been my favourite. A great story teller and a Botswana native, Easy was a big man with a deep laugh and a large, infectious smile. While looking for leopards in Savute National Park, he stopped the Land Cruiser beside some large and fresh elephant droppings.
Jumping out and standing next to the droppings, Easy started his story:
"My ancestors who lived off the land could be considered some of the first conservationists. They only killed what they needed to eat and they only killed male animals. They were excellent trackers and there were several ways to tell male from female tracks. One way was to look at how close the pee and droppings were to each other."
[He spreads his feet 4' apart to show how wide the distance was] "Now if it is wide like this, it meant that it was a male elephant" [He brings his feet in (2' apart)] "If it was close like this, then it was a female."
"Now if there was only elephant dung, they could still tell what gender the elephant was." [He held out one index finger up in the air] "Now this is ok since elephants are herbivores. I wouldn't do this if it was from a meat eating animal like a hyena." [In a large dramatic arc, he brings his finger down straight into the middle of one of the droppings which was about the size of a cantaloupe. He then removes his finger]
"Now if it is a male, it has a bitter taste. If a female, it has a sweet taste. [He takes his finger in a large dramatic arc and puts it into his mouth, making a smacking sound as he pulls it slowly out] He then billowed out a laugh, beams us a large but slightly sheepish smile, and then climbs back into the truck.
A story I'll always remember.