Marula trees are incredibly popular for elephants – they eat the bark and devour the fruit, then spread marula seeds through their dung. Elephants are perhaps the fruit’s second-largest consumer (after humans), but they’re also the tree’s worst enemy. According to some, marula is wildlife booze that gets elephants drunk. The Marula fruit has a number of unusual traits and uses. Original photo: “Marula snack” by … . It is high in vitamin C and can be eaten fresh. Required fields are marked *. We all have watched the documentaries on how the park rangers and vets go in and must tranquilize these beautiful giants to perform medical helpful procedures. But the research is restricted to elephant consumption of marula. Playful elephants (drunk on marula fruit) at 00:35 - YouTube It may be a different case for small animals. Feel free to join us as a contributor to share your passion for wild Africa. Adventurer. ): http://www.amarula.co.za, Thanks for the link Dorothee, and viva Amarula! The marula fruit is also a favorite among safari animals such as rhinoceroses, giraffes and monkeys, but no creature is as crazy about the marula as the elephant. ", "But a "new" study to be published in the March/April 2006 issue of the journal Physiological and Biochemical Zoology tells a very different story. Furthermore, the fresh fruit simply doesn’t spend enough time in the elephant’s stomach to ferment and produce alcohol there. Look no further. Amarula, a cream liqueur from South Africa, is made with sugar, cream and the fruit of the African Marula tree. When was this exactly? Spiritual. The Marula tree is then able to stay healthy through the ways that it has adapted and evolved to survive. Are you familiar with the marula fruit or the marula tree? It was an important part of local diets, so the Bantu people took it with them as they migrated through Africa. In a place like the Kruger National Park where wildlife abounds, it is also very seldom, if ever, that animals allow fruit … Men might have come to the scene a … You know Mike, AfricaFreak … Some of these animals, particularly the elephants look drugged. The marula fruit - said to taste sweet, tart and refreshing - has an intoxicating effect when consumed after it has ripened and fallen to the ground. Thanks for sharing! The marula fruit tree (Sclerocarya birrea) is native to parts of southern Africa.The trees grow wild and were once rare, but are now cultivated. the marula fruit was explored by Siegel (1989) without a clear outcome. This fruit has socio-economic importance within communities, and it provides a much needed source of income for those who most need it. Jamie Uys’ footage was totally staged and the animals were, believe it or not, fed with alcohol. Definitely makes me think entirely differently about that documentary now. Increasing numbers of African elephant ( Loxodonta africana (Blumenbach)) can lead to declines of some plant and animal species. Let’s say Elephants were given alcohol to get them drunk. Marula oil is used topically to moisturise the skin, and as an edible oil in the diet of San people in Southern Africa. The scientific name of the Marula fruit tree is Sclerocarya Birrea. So please explain to me how did they get half a semi trailer full of potent liquor into the remote savannah to do this stunt? Popularly known as the fruit that gets elephants and humans drunk, we can see why it would be a fan favorite. The tree is indigenous to Southern Africa. So if you’ve ever wondered what the animals are after, give it a go. Although the liqueur is high in alcohol, its sweet taste is acclaimed, as evidenced by a gold medal earned at the 2006 San Francisco World Spirits Competition. These fruits have a socio-economic importance to many people groups, from Kwazulu-Natal to Ethiopia. And I know from experience that the marula fruit can get you drunk, just not in the wild. And contrary to popular belief Elephants do not drink water everyday as there are droughts and water can be scarce. It is certainly a South African favorite for a reason. See them on an elephant safari to take in their majestic and often amusing antics. Either way, they benefit. So thanx for shedding light on that "drunken scene"! They are great favorite with a wide range of wild animals including elephants, monkeys, giraffes and wild boars. The directors first soaked the food, then filmed the scenes to make it more believable. So perhaps we all want to believe this tale of debauchery . Anecdotes about wild animals seemingly getting drunk after eating rotting fruit are widespread. Enter your email for your weekly dose of ‘wild Africa’ directly to your inbox. “Elephants regularly visit and revisit the same marula trees, checking the fruits and the bark for palatability and devour the fruits when they are ripe,” she explains. Clearly, this is no ordinary grocery store classic. To be drunk with moderation of course! This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Food is precious on the African savanna and as soon as the marula fruit is ripe there will be many animals coming for a feast, not just elephants. It also has wide-spread branches, and the fruits ripen between December and March, the summer months of Southern Africa. Dans le film de Jamie Uys Animals Are Beautiful People (en), sorti en 1974, des scènes montrent des éléphants, des autruches, des phacochères et des singes saouls après avoir consommé des fruits fermentés. The footage showed elephants and various other animals gorging themselves on the fruit at the foot of a Marula tree. While the fruit does indeed ferment quickly, the elephants would need to eat a huge amount of the fermented Marulas, and it’s unlikely that they ever do this. The Marula fruit is a good source of income for struggling rural communities, beyond the beer. The fruit juice and pulp are mixed with water and stored in a container over 1-3 days of fermentation to make marula beer, a traditional alcoholic beverage. Yummy fruits, which supposedly make elephants “drunk.” That’s what some of the locals say anyway. Elephants, however, will feast on fruit, and the new study reopens a long-running debate over whether elephants truly get tipsy gorging on marula fruit, a relative of mangoes. "The lore holds that elephants can get drunk by eating the fermented fruit rotting on the ground. And the narrator makes us all believe that the Marula fruit is nature’s own liquor, and a local favorite amongst these deviant animals. Here’s the study which should dispel it once and for all. Looks like you consulted Duncan’s link, correct? Or is this your assumption of what happened? I have seen them rush to a tree with a lot of fallen fruit the same way they would hurry to a waterhole when they are thirsty. The nutritious little fruit is the size of a small plum, but it packs a punch. Elephants are attracted to alcohol but it's not possible to become drunk by eating marulas in the veld says a scientific study conducted by Steve Morris from the University of Bristol. Ok I do not believe you sir since you have no proof other than your assumption and theory. PS: Great photography, btw. However, that isn’t long enough to get me drunk, never mind an elephant! In the 45 years since it was filmed, not one person, not one documentary has seen nor recorded it? I have made jars and jars full of marula jelly, but I just could not keep up with the marula tree’s abundance! Reason enough for some! But elephants don’t need alcohol to be entertaining. In fact, it is believed by some to increase the male sex drive. Curious by nature. Where they are found The marula tree can be found in South Africa in Mpumalanga’s Lowveld and the Kruger National Park. Your argument categorically rules out the fruit being the cause. It is, of course, the strongest, and only for the brave. And I do not buy into your theory to be honest. The directors first soaked the food, then filmed the scenes to make it more believable.”. The Marula tree is probably best known in the world for the fruit that ‘drives elephants mad’ when dropped to the ground and lightly fermented. The footage, portraying wild animals getting drunk after eating marula fruits, became an immediate hit (it even received a Golden Globe for best documentary). © 2020 Africa Freak | All Rights Reserved, The coolest-looking creatures of the African bush. Not just elephants but all animals which can move an inch will be present for the carnival. The fruit is not only a delicacy for elephants, but also for most animals of the African savanna. In other words, the science suggests this kind of “drunken behaviour” is not plausible at all. There are male and female trees, each with their own type of flowers. Native to the southern regions and western regions of Africa, the bark is used to treat fever and malaria. Plus there were other animals that were drunk also. I have seen dogs and racoons drink beer and wine left over from dumpsters. But let’s find out if the fruit is as “potent” as it seems…. It then ferments on the ground for a while before being eaten by wild animals, like elephants, giraffes, baboons and warthogs. Your email address will not be published. What’s your take on this ?? A 3-day ... For those wanting to make a quick escape into the wilderness, a two-day safari from Johannesburg to ... Marula Fruit: All you Need to Know About Africa’s Favorite Fruit, Elephant Safari in Africa | Where to See African Elephants, Kenya Safari Holidays 2019 (Tips, Guides & Options), Camp Kuzuma Review – Everything You Need to Know, Honeymoon in Africa | Top Romantic Safari Destinations, Top 5 Madagascar Destinations & Things To Do While You’re There, Kruger National Park | Accommodation | Safari | Wildlife, Fascinating Elephant Sounds And What They Mean, How To Choose The Right Africa Travel Company, Namibian Food: What to Try When you Visit Namibia, What Sound Does a Buffalo Make? How on earth does one justify this? Also, it provides some very necessary income to the women who make and sell it. , It is indeed comical to watch … yet it leaves me with thinking “how was this filmed” … makes the animals look rather silly and for some extremely vulnerable! :-) I’ve heard a lot about “drunken” elephants lately, finally an explanation! The fruit is traditionally used for food in Africa, and has considerable socioeconomic importance. I refer you to Peter H. Capstick — He's killed nearly a thousand elephants in his time as a professional hunter and government elephant cropper and he's seen this effect. Never knew it was staged! Hahahha!! The story goes that wild animals would get drunk by eating fruit that had dropped from the tree and was fermenting on the ground. Yet the popular press seems convinced; for example, “What does it take to get an elephant drunk? So the story became associated with the great pachyderms. The story goes that the ripe fruit falls from the branches of the Marula tree. I’m a true believer in the science …. To estimate how much marula fruit would be needed to intoxicate an elephant, the scientists assumed: Elephants become drunk when they forage on the fruit of the marula tree - this is an ongoing myth and tale that has been established now for many years. Interestingly, Marula trees are gendered. It is characterized by a grey mottled bark. Unfortunately, none of this is true, as the producers of this documentary actually soaked the fruit in alcohol before filming, causing the animals to get drunk and behave abnormally. I must admit the first time I saw the video I was a little skeptical about it, although I “kind of” thought to myself it could well be possible! (Wikipedia), Thanks for quoting this Yashar, appreciate it! However, the tale is unfortunately untrue. The second day’s beer is Neshana, and it’s alcohol percentage is higher, while the taste is less sweet, more sour. Like most fruits, marula can ferment to create alcohol. Elephants can reach up and grab the lush fruit, they don’t need to wait until it drops on the ground. So the marula fruit won’t have time to ferment and animals don’t need to eat rotten fruit. Although the story is believable, there are many holes in the theory. The most interesting thing about these fruits is that they turn into alcohol by undergoing fermentation in the stomach … This is 8 years late. Flashback to the 1970s (1974 to be exact), when a guy by the name of Jamie Uys produced two documentaries called “Beautiful People” (he also directed “The Gods Must Be Crazy“). As you can imagine, the chances for that to happen are simply not realistic. I have no idea but it would take more than a few gallons that is for sure.Let’s add a few more elephants to the equation not to mention there is a probable chance many animals would shun at higher concentrations of Alcohol in the 80 proof on up category. I’ve heard the stories and I’ve tasted the fruit, but I wasn’t sure if it really made elephants drunk. Loves to travel, discover new horizons and meet people. The story goes back a long way and has received considerable attention over the years. So when the season opens, all roads in the forest lead to Marula trees. Some theorists believed that the fruit could ferment inside the elephant, because it would take up to 48 hours to pass through an elephant’s system. Check out the psychedelically painted elephant on the front cover. It was spread further into West Africa and Madagascar by bantu tribes. Either way, they benefit. It is not until very recently nevertheless that I did a bit of research on the matter, and found out about the truth behind this rather controversial video. I’ve seen this video before, never knew it was staged. Drunken elephants: The marula fruit myth December 05, 2005 Dispelling years of anecdotes in travelogues, the popular press, and scholarly works, biologists from the University of Bristol argue that it is nearly impossible for elephants to become intoxicated from eating the fruit of the marula tree. See why it would be a fan favorite for all in their majestic and amusing! Need it can lead to declines of some plant and animal species spend time... 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