Pregnant Pachyderm Refuses To Discuss Elephant In Womb
Celeste Babarina, a member of the Lumbago clan of East Africa, has been carrying a fetus since January and displaying all the requisite symptoms of her condition, but familial and social mores dictate that no one is permitted to bring up the subject for fear of embarrassment. Her pregnancy lies at the root of myriad unusual interactions and their consequences, and the negative consequences cannot be adequately addressed without openly discussing Ms. Babarina’s pregnancy.
For example, the cow’s irritability has sparked at least four known feuds among members of the herd, confrontations that have had adverse impact on claiming and maintaining hold of prime watering holes and grazing grounds this season. Rival clans have made inroads into territory traditionally considered a Lumbago stronghold, and other species such as rhinoceros and ostrich have enjoyed unprecedented freedom to wallow in the mud and water previously off limits to them.
Normally, say elephants who declined to be identified for fear of retribution, Babarina’s friends and sisters would collectively enforce the ban on other wildlife, and would effectively bar other herds from encroaching. But the divisions that have grown out of refusal to discuss the elephant in the womb are causing a breakdown of the social hierarchy, and the rivals are exploiting that breakdown.
It remains unclear how much longer the herd will tolerate the situation, but with more than a year remaining in Babarina’s pregnancy, the herd will be hard pressed to maintain its integrity without a shift. When asked for an opinion for this article, the pregnant elephant declined to comment.
“Can’t talk now,” she said. “I gestate.”