Learning to swim - Sambar style

The attached sequence of photographs occurred in Khao Yai National Park and depict a group of wild sambar deer, cervus unicolor, females that were feeding at the edge of the reservoir. The group consisted of two fully grown females, 3 juveniles and a younger doe. One of the adult females took the youngest of the deer into the reservoir, seemingly for a swimming lesson. She clearly teased the young animal out of her depth whilst keeping a close contact. One of the other juvenile does also kept a close watch and seemed to be assisting.

They took the young animal out until it was actually swimming, with a panicked look on her face but as soon as she had proven she could do it, she was ushered back into the shallows and back to the grass. Was it a swimming lesson? Was it a lesson in cooling off on a hot day? Was it both?




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