WATCH: Zimbabwean ellie with fashion envy?

2016-08-08 20:00
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Got your eye on someone else's cute jacket? This playful elephant from Hwange in Zimbabwe spied a yellow jacket that she just couldn't resist.

Australian author Sharon Pincott shared this guaranteed-to-make-you-smile footage this week of Winsome the elephant stealing her jacket through the window of her 4x4 vehicle and making off with it, to the gleeful triumph of the rest of her family (including an adorable calf). 

Pincott lived with Zimbabwe's famed Presidential Elephants in Hwange for 13 years, working to protect these majestic creatures who roam free near Hwange Main Camp. The clip was filmed by an SA crew for the documentary "All the President's Elephants."

Pincott told News24 on Friday that the jacket-stealing episode came as a surprise. She said: "The elephants never put their trunks in my 4x4 except to greet me. And, over the course of many years, they did greet me countless times."

"My yellow jacket was lying on my back seat and although elephants are said not to see colour like we do, there was clearly something about this particular colour that caught their eye," she added. "I also think it’s entirely possible that they simply decided to have a bit of fun, with something that belonged to someone they knew very well," she added.

Winsome was a member of an extended elephant family led by a matriarch that Pincott named Whole. "Whole is too dignified an elephant for such cheeky behavior," Pincott said.

"It was one of her younger, more playful, relations who I’d named Winsome who stole the jacket, and created such an air of excitement within this family."
"They were all having a good giggle alongside me! Elephants share many emotions with humans and I do believe they also have a sense of humour!" she added.
Fortunately, the jacket wasn't an especial favourite of Pincott's (and she did manage to retrieve it, eventually). She said: "I’d only quite recently purchased it at the Bulawayo street markets, and had only actually worn it for a few weeks."

"In the end, even though it was my warmest jacket, I decided that it was best for me to leave this jacket at home!" she added.
Sadly, politics eventually made it impossible for Pincott to stay on in Hwange. She left in 2014 and she's not been able to live with the elephants she formed such close bonds with since. 

The presidential herd is supposed to have special protection from hunting and culling from longtime leader Robert Mugabe. In practice, that hasn't always been the case. Hwange's wider elephant population was hit by a spate of cyanide poisonings in late 2015. It's not clear if the presidential herd was affected.

Pincott has recently published Elephant Dawn, a candid account of her life with the more than 400-strong herd and Zimbabwe's troubled politics during that time. After writing that, she says, "it certainly wouldn’t be wise for me to return to Zimbabwe."
The documentary 'All the President's Elephants' was released in 2012.

Check out Pincott's funny footage here:

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