Raising and holding a foreleg off the ground. Raising and holding a hind-foot may also be observed although this is less common than a forefoot. Individuals in all age sex groups may Foot-Lift in Submissive, Ambivalent and Conflict & Confrontation contexts when unsure of what action to take, as in Displacement-Behavior. Likewise, all age sex groups may Foot-Lift In Attentive and Vigilance contexts as seen during Freezing behavior, when elephants may be feeling for or picking up seismic vibrations.
In a Movement Space and Leadership context Foot-Lifting is observed among adult females as a signal of intention - i.e. an Intention-Movement - for example, as a component of the Let’s-Go-Stance.
References: Douglas-Hamilton 1972: ch 6; Moss 1988; Poole 1999a; O’Connell-Rodwell et al 2006. (Full reference list)
This behavior occurs in the following context(s): Ambivalent, Attentive, Movement, Space & Leadership, Submissive, Vigilance