Baby boom in Tsavo East
Field Report by Intern Jessica Murage, Elephants and Bees Project
On 13th March class 5-8 pupils from Kileva primary school were exhilarated for their trip to Tsavo East National Park. We started the trip at 8.00 in the morning so that we’d have enough time to explore. Tsavo East is located near Voi Town in the Taita Taveta District and is home to numerous iconic large mammals including elephants, giraffes, zebras and buffalos among others.
The day began with a brief introduction of the park from our Tour guide, Mary Nyambura, who showed us a nice overview plan of Tsavo East National Park. She also gave a brief but very interesting summary and history of the park.
The first animals we saw on our game drive were the Maasai giraffes. We were quite fortunate to have a guide who helped us tell the male and the female apart. Female giraffes have 2 horns while male giraffes have three (the smaller one is found in the middle).
Tsavo East boosts quite a large number of elephants already and we were lucky to witness them undertaking different activating; mud baths, drinking water and a few Elly quarrels. Some of the elephants were covered in mud giving them quite a spectral appearance. There was a baby boom and seeing the little calves was a wonderful experience that filled me with great contentment. If we look after our wildlife, we will have these magnificent creatures around for the future generations which is inspiring.
In the image above, the elephants reaching under the mother’s belly are below one year while those above are one year and above. The students identified the fact that elephants feel and show emotion based on how touchy they were towards each other and more so towards the babies on the herd using their trunks. This warmed my heart.
Ostriches. Magnificent birds, aren’t they? The students thought so too. With their towering height and magnificent feathers, their presence is compelling. Ostriches lay their eggs together in one place which is chosen by the male. Males sit on the eggs during the day while females sit on them at night. Isn’t that cool!? It isa shame we didn’t get a chance to see any ostrich chicks; I hear they are quite a sight.
We had a lovely lunch break at Mudanda rock. This magnificent rock offers a stunning view of a vast area of the park, faces a water pan. The history of Mudanda rock was also fascinating to hear. The Taitas and Kambas would dry their meat from big hunts on the rock as a means of preservation. Not surprising, the rock is quite hot. You would not be able survive barefoot on it for long. If you don’t trust me you could always try it you would get to see the wildlife as a bonus.
We were privileged to see one of the three remaining big tusker females in Kenya! Everyone was in awe. I couldn’t believe just how long the tusks were!
We identified a tuskless elephant too. These elephants with this genetic trait have a better survival rate as they are less targeted by poachers due to their lack of tusks.
One of the aims for the trip was to help change negative perceptions that the students might have regarding the wild animals around them and I’m glad to say that it was successful. They were ecstatic to say the least after seeing all the animals in the park and cannot wait for the next trip.
We collected some excerpts from the compositions they wrote when they got back to school;
A huge shout out to Victor for planning this trip and ensuring it was such a wonderful success!
Thank you the Disney Conservation Fund for supporting our Conservation Education program 🙂
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