In Mole National Park, I climbed into the bush at the crest of a valley, which dipped into a standing pool of rainwater. In the tall grass, antelope (all female) scampered into the valley, dominated by one horned male that observed his pack from afar. He mounted his lovers whenever the scent of feminine heat provoked him to reproduce, and waited for other male antelopes to fight him for the same privilege.
By the main path, baboons crouched like relaxed children: furry faces long and stoic. At the sight of humans, the female baboons scrambled up the nearest tree, babies clinging to their mothers’ stomachs and backs. The infant baboon faces gleamed bright pink where their hair had not yet grown.
Deep in the forest, among fallen palm leaves, I spotted a pile of dung the size of an American football. Past a long stretch of trees, I noticed a gray tail swinging among the bushes and, as I moved closer, the outline of a giant mammal. The elephant’s ears were the size of large quilts, and its wrinkled body soared high into the branches. As I stepped carefully forward, I saw that the beast was accompanied by three companions: all huge, all hungry. In large swoops, their large trunks grabbed hold of branches and bent them until they snapped free.