It's a way to stand out from the crowd! An elephant that seemed to shine so brightly that it looked like it was plated with gold was striding through the open forest.

It’s a way to stand out from the crowd! An elephant that seemed to shine so brightly that it looked like it was plated with gold was striding through the open forest.

In a crowd of grey elephants standing amid the browns and greens of a marshy field, you might imagine it could be difficult to stand out.

But one elephant seemed to be shining brightly compared to the rest of its species, golden-coloured as it strutted through the forest clearing.

Research professor Christopher Whittier captured the unusual sight whilst taking a break from veterinary work in the Central African Republic to visit the famed Dzanga Bai forest clearing.

An elephant stands out from the rest of the herd by looking like it has been covered with gold after taking a mud bath

Research professor Christopher Whittier captured the unusual sight whilst taking a break from veterinary work in the Central African Republic to visit the famed Dzanga Bai forest clearing

Amid the damp, brown and green fields in the Central African Republic, the golden elephant really shone as it strolled around

The golden elephant was one of around 150 endangered African forest elephants that came to visit the clearing

The golden elephant was one of around 150 endangered African forest elephants that came to visit the clearing.

Mr Whittier, who lives in Grafton, Massachusetts in the United States, said that the elephants had made a ‘nice mud bath’ in a particularly yellow patch of soil.

The 48-year-old said: ‘It had rained pretty hard before I took most of these photos, so a lot of mud had washed off many of the elephants.

‘What was notable about this elephant was how thoroughly he covered himself – not missing an inch by the time he was done.

‘It didn’t really seem like other elephants reacted to his colour in particular, which was part of what made it funnier to me. It was like he seemed really proud of himself but no one else seemed to care.’

Mr Whittier said he was able to observe the herd of elephants, which each weigh approximately three tonnes and grow to a height of eight feet, for three hours from a viewing platform 50m from the mud bath.

Mr Whittier, who lives in Grafton, Massachusetts in the United States, said that the elephants had made a ‘nice mud bath’ in a particularly yellow patch of soil

The 48-year-old said: ‘It had rained pretty hard before I took most of these photos, so a lot of mud had washed off many of the elephants’

The photographer said one of the most notable things about this elephant was how thoroughly he covered himself – not missing an inch by the time he was done

But despite standing out amid the duller colours, the other elephants didn’t seem to react at all to the golden mammal

Mr Whittier said he was able to observe the herd of elephants, which each weigh approximately three tonnes and grow to a height of eight feet, for three hours from a viewing platform 50m from the mud bath

The African forest elephant is under constant threat from poachers and, in 2013, scientists estimated that it could become extinct within 10 years

He said: ‘It was really fascinating and fun to watch this elephant and the others really enjoy covering themselves in mud.

‘He then seemed to strut very proudly across the Bai when he was fully adorned with the golden mud.’

The African forest elephant is under constant threat from poachers and, in 2013, scientists estimated that it could become extinct within 10 years.

Mr Whittier said the experience of seeing the elephants in such large numbers was ‘very special’ as they rarely congregate in groups of more than four or five animals.

He added: ‘People say Dzanga Bai might be one of the most unique wildlife viewing experiences in the world, and often that it’s second only to the Serengeti National Park – but I’m not sure it’s second.’

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