Standing idly, lingering, loitering until other elephants either catch up or are alerted to the signallers attempt to initiate movement; contextually this posture is obvious as the Waiting individual is attentive (engaging in behaviors such as 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 behaviour occurs in a number of different contexts.

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

References: Moss 1988; Poole & Granli 2003; Poole & Granli 2011. (Full reference list)

This behavioral constellation includes the following behaviors: Displacement-Feeding, Displacement-Grooming, Ears-Stiff, Eye-Blinking, Foot-Lifting, Foot-Swinging, J-Trunk, Look-Back, Walk-Wait and occurs in the following context(s): Ambivalent, Attentive, Birth, Calf Reassurance & Protection, Courtship, Movement, Space & Leadership


Context: Movement Space & Leadership (1)

The clip is of the C family. Adult female gf0080 stands apparently Waiting with her calves. Behind her another tuskless female, who looks to be Cecilie, can be seen to be coming and walks past. gf0080 continues to stand, Waiting. Only when tuskless female gf0004 appears in frame do gf0080 and her calves begin to walk. It appears that they were waiting for her and are likely closely bonded - perhaps mother-daughter.

As the camera pans out we see that they are all walking to join adult tuskless female, Nomada, gf0003 who is revealed on the left. As they coalesce around Nomada, she gives an Ear-Flap-Slide which is immediately followed by one given by gf0080 as she walks past her. The elephants continue moving while feeding as they move away. (Gorongosa, Mozambique)


Context: Movement Space & Leadership (2)

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 (3)

In Amboseli a young female Initiates-Movement but when her family doesn't follow she stops to Wait for them. She stands Body-Axis-Pointing in the direction she wants to go with her Ears-Stiff. Once they finally they proceed together. Notice the increase in Temporin on the side of her face after this initiation and period of Waiting. (Amboseli, Kenya)


Context: Movement Space & Leadership (4)

A young adult female and her calf have been mud splashing and the calf is now resting lying down. There is an adolescent female out of view who we can hear is still mud splashing. The female in view gives an Ear-Slap, adopts a Casual-Stance and gives a Let's-Go-Rumble associated with Ear-Flapping.

Note that Let's-Go-Rumbles typically begin with and Ear-Slap and are associated with Ear-Flapping. She Waits and engages in Displacement-Dusting and gives another, softer Let's-Go-Rumble and an Ear-Slap. She continues to Wait and Dust. More attentive Waiting and then she Orient-Toward the other female in a Walk-Wait and again Waits. Finally, she faces the direction she wants to go, and takes a few steps and Waits and when her calf gets up, she begins to walk off. (Maasai Mara, Kenya)


Context: Movement Space & Leadership (5)

It is near dusk and a subgroup of Selengei's family is standing together Waiting. This is just before the start of a Group-March initiated by Selengei. The adolescent (left) and adult female (right) are attentive with Ears-Stiff and occasionally holding their trunks in a J-Trunk posture. We can hear the sounds of Maasai and their livestock in the background as they head back to their boma.

The elephants are waiting for the Maasai to be at a safe distance and are waiting for their matriarch, Selengei to decide when to move. We hear a faint Let's Go-Rumble and the adolescent female takes a couple of steps - Walk-Wait - and then we hear two or three overlapping Let's-Go-Rumbles by the Waiting group as we can see them Ear-Flapping. The female on the right gives an Ear-Flap-Slide as she becomes aware of Selengei's approach and prepares to move. We hear the filmmaker say that Selengei is coming. The camera pans out and we see Selengei has initiated the Group-March and the entire group of 40 elephants follows her movement. (Maasai Mara, Kenya)


Context: Movement Space & Leadership (6)

Big Mama's family stand Waiting. Most adult members are oriented east Body-Axis-Pointing. Matriarch Big Mama (marked with an M in a circle) is not ready, though she stands with a forefoot forward. Some take a few impatient steps in a Walk-Wait. Then she begins walking and all follow her lead. She takes 12 steps and stops. Others keep walking and then stop and Wait for her next move. She half turns around and Urinates. She completes her turn, gives an Ear-Flap-Slide and walks back where she came from. All turn around and follow her. A lovely example of leadership. (Maasai Mara, Kenya)


Context: Movement Space & Leadership (7)

An adult female and her two calves Wait at the edge of a mud-wallow for another female who is still mud-splashing. She stands attentively Body-Axis-Pointing and with a J-Trunk. She gives and Ear-Flap-Slide and takes a few steps in a Walk-Wait. She stands Waiting again Body-Axis-Pointing and with a J-Trunk. She briefly engages in Trunk-Sucking. Then she departs. (Maasai Mara, Kenya)


Context: Movement Space & Leadership (8)

Elephants have been playing in a deep pool for over an hour. Now mothers of the MB family are ready to depart. They begin to walk but then stop Waiting for their calves and other family members who are still playing in the water. (Amboseli, Kenya)


Context: Movement Space & Leadership (9)

As the clip starts Angelina (in the right) stands Waiting in a Foot-Forward posture. After some time she Looks-Back to the right and then left and then she Backs-Toward the others a few steps and Looks-Back again. We hear approaching Abra Rumble and this is answered by a louder call by her daughter, Allura, who is out of sight. Abra's call is long and we still hear her Rumbling as Allura's call ends. Allura Rumbles again. We hear a couple more Rumbles by other callers and then we hear and see Angelina Rumble. Angelina Waits for Abra to catch up and then begins to Walk. (Amboseli, Kenya)


Context: Movement Space & Leadership (10)

This behavior occurred over perhaps 10 minutes or so. We have shortened the clips. Matriarch Holly has been Body-Axis-Pointing and Waiting for quite a while. As this clip begins she gives a short Lets-Go-Rumble and continues to Body-Axis-Point and Wait. Then as her family comes closer she Looks-Back.

The camera pans out and we see her apparently Foot-Swinging although this may be Displacement-Dusting. As they come with her she begins to Walk only to stop and Wait again again when the other female stops to Suckle a calf. They begin to approach her again and she walks on leading her family. (Amboseli, Kenya)