My experience at Save the Elephants
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Our journey started at 9 AM from the camp in search of two collared elephants, Manolo and EQ at Lake Jipe. On the way, we got to see more elephant families and individual bulls roaming in the savannah ecosystem of Tsavo West National Park. Everyone on board was on the lookout for elephants and we would stop and observe them. The elephant groups were classified either as a family group, bull group or mixed group. The total elephant count was recorded and their GPS location recorded. Elephants are further classified into different age groups depending on their ages. E.g calves- below a year old, juveniles between 1 and 10 years old, sub-adult between 11 and 20 years old and adults above 20 years. Individuals in each age group were counted and recorded.
We got to lake Jipe but were not successful in spotting Manolo or EQ. The next day everyone was excited to continue the search of the collared elephants. It wasn’t long before Katherine, one of the interns, said she could see some elephants about 200 meters away. We all hoped it was EQ’s family. We quickly drove towards the elephants, binoculars in hand to see if there were collared elephants among them and guess what? EQ was among them! We were all grateful to Katherine and her sharp eyes. EQ’s family is composed of 7 adults, 4 juveniles and 2 calves. The family was doing great and seemed happy seeing us.
Another interesting fieldwork activity at the Elephants and Bees Research Center was elephant tracking. After a crop raid, the farmers would call the office to report the raid. The event would be immediately logged in and a team assembled to track the elephant\elephants. Elephant tracking is always done the next day for easier collection of data since the footprints will still be visible, the dung fresh and the incidence is still fresh on the farmer’s mind. The trackers would then follow the elephant’s footprints until they disappeared, using a Global Positioning System (GPS) to tell the direction they came from and left the farm.