June 14, 2019
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When I was in South Africa, our hosts were kind enough to take me to an incredible game park where I could see African animals in the wild. And I did! Rhinos, giraffes, ostriches, and baboons - not the kind of animals you usually see wandering around, say, New York. But the highlight was coming around this curve and meeting a great bull elephant in the road. He put on a real show for us for several minutes. I picked up a local newspaper a while later and saw a news article with that game park as the dateline. The article was about the young male elephants there-the ones the rangers call the teenagers. Apparently, in recent months, those teenage male elephants had been on a reign of terror in the park, doing things that elephants don't usually do. They had attacked other animals like rhinos. They had attacked tourists, inflicting death or serious injury. And finally the park officials got it figured out what had gone wrong with these young males. When they were newborn, they were taken from another game park and brought to this one. But their fathers - the bull elephants - were not brought with them. So these teenage elephants grew up without a model of how a grownup male should act - and they were out of control.