Alternatively Walking a few steps and then standing idly while Waiting for other elephants to either catch up or to initiate movement; contextually this posture is obvious as the Waiting individual is attentive (J-Trunk, Eye-Blinking, Ears-Stiff), often glancing back over her shoulder (Look-Back), and/or checking the others' activity by sniffing, Listening and Looking, and indicating her impatience by taking a few desultory steps and pausing again - Walk-Wait.

This behavior occurs in a number of different contexts. In a Calf Reassurance & Protection context, mothers and allomothers are often seen Walk-Waiting for infants and calves; in a Courtship context, Consorting musth male and estrous female are observed to Walk-Wait for one another in order to maintain close proximity, to prevent other males from Mating. In a Movement Space & Leadership context, elephants of all age/sex groups Walk-Wait for one another to keep the family or group together.

References: Poole & Granli 2021. (Full reference list)

This behavior occurs in the following context(s): Birth, Calf Reassurance & Protection, Courtship, Movement, Space & Leadership


Context: Movement Space & Leadership (1)

Members of the V family are Waiting to depart, but their matriarch, Valda (marked with an M), is not. They have been standing Body-Axis-Pointing southeast, while she has been facing northwest. All are listening and I can see there is Rumbling because ears are flapping. Valda turns Body-Axis-Pointing southeast, but still does not move. She pauses and they Wait again, alert. Valda is Listening again.

The others are getting frustrated. They stand and Wait and Wait - alert. Valda has turned Body-Axis-Pointing northwest again. Then Vigilante begins to walk NW and the others follow her. She walks until she is parallel with Valda and stops. They wait. And wait and wait. The camera zooms in so we can't see Valda. Finally one of the younger one turns and all turn. The camera zooms out and Valda has turned Body-Axis-Pointing SE with the others and I think she initiated this turn. But again Valda stops and waits.

There is some Walk-Wait movement by the others until finally Valda moves and all begin walking SE. All are moving in direction of the river, pausing now and then to grab a mouthful of grass. Decision-making elephant style. Gorongosa, Mozambique)


Context: Movement Space & Leadership (2)

Big Mama's family has been waiting for a long time in the hot sun and Big Mama is not ready to leave. There are cattle in the area and that may be the cause of their indecision. Finally Big Mama (marked with an M) indicates that she wants to go north and some of her family begin Walk-Waiting and making Intention-Movements that indicate they want to go south.

As the clip begins a sub-group begins to walk south and some give Let's-Go-Rumbles as you can see their Ear-Flapping. They Walk-Wait. They Walk-Wait again and engage in Body Axis Pointing south. Big Mama and her group meanwhile Body-Axis-Point the opposite way. Big Mama's group begin Let's-Go-Rumbling. The other group joins in. More rumbling seems to persuade the southern group to turn. They continue rumbling as they turn to align themselves with Big Mama. She waits and then gives several Ear-Slaps as she begins to move. All follow her. (Maasai Mara, Kenya)