Among the Elephants Blog
February 14, 2001
Save the Elephants
The carcass was found by local herdsmen who were looking for new pasture for their cattle. The elephants' tusks had been cut out with an axe and there were bullet holes in its head and shoulder. The carcass was covered with branches in an attempt to hide it.
This sad occurrence shows that unfortunately poaching for ivory is still a threat to elephants, however involving the local communities in conservation efforts is helping to bring communities on side as was shown by the elders and herdsmen who reported the incident to us and to KWS. Elephants One day as I was doing my daily elephant monitoring I found two big bulls Boone and Gorbachev, both in musth. As usual, Henrik and I stopped the car right next to them. After about 2 minutes I realize that something was not right. Boone was breaking big branches from the acacia tortillis tree that he placed on his head and used to break off more branches.
Gorbachev was doing the same thing and hitting the ground with his trunk. Sometimes the elephants came very close to each other and Henrik and I thought they would hit each other. Although we were parked a few meters away from them the elephants were oblivious to our presence. They continued to engage in the destruction of trees for the next three hours after which Gorbachev retreated and walked away with Boone in close pursuit. Henrik and I followed them for four kilometers until we lost sight of them.
Dik dik Two dik dik frequently spend the night in our camp next to the Land Rover. One night I was woken up by the sound of dik dik whose sleep had also been interrupted by the arrival of leopards that decided to use our campsite as a mating ground. The noise from the mating leopards must have frightened the dik dik because as soon as the leopards left the campsite quiet returned and everyone was able to sleep again. Red-bill In addition to the dik dik, the camp also has a resident red-bill whom we christened Petro.
He has his nest a few meters from our research center right next to the table where we have our meals. Petro has a female with chicks in his nest that he feeds with bread he receives from our breakfast table. Every morning he comes to the table and sings his beautiful song. As soon as he receives his piece of bread, he takes it to the nest and quickly returns for more. Petro can recognize his name and is very social to the extent that he can be fed by hand.