elephants

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Feb 28th, 2004, 10:21 AM
  #1
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elephants

I just love the elephants - they are so fun to watch.

When I was at Mashatu, there was a hide at one edge of the camp. The elephants were there for hours on the day I arrived but we didn't see them again while I was there. Being in that hide was the most perfect setup - it had ground level viewing and another level about elephant high. There were chairs and you could sit there as long as you wanted - taking pictures or just watching.

Later on the same day we saw the same herd and a couple of others while on a game drive. We sat and watched them for awhile. There were several young elephants of different ages, the youngest being 2 months. As the herd was walking in almost single file, we watched as one of the older "children" kept pushing the baby along. It looked like he was trying to be the boss. Very comical! I wasn't on a private game drive so off we went to find something else.


Many of you have been many places - where would you say you've had the best elephant viewing?

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Feb 28th, 2004, 11:51 AM
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So far I've seen elephants in Kenya and Tanzania (I was a teenager and don't have a very detailed memory of that trip) and, more recently, in Namibia and Botswana.

In Namibia we saw "desert elephants" in Damaraland. We were lucky to see 17 - guests who were there before us and left just after we arrived had seen none at all. We saw a family herd on a distant hill - to get closer we left the car and climbed with our guide across a deep dried riverbed and then up a hill - just the three of us - and suddenly we all stopped dead - just about 50 yards away was a huge bull elephant - much much much closer than the main herd higher on the hill. We watched in awe for half an hour before retreating quietly back.

In Botswana we had some wonderful ele encounters when at Little Mombo - we came across a family group with young ones and a number of lone bulls including a rather athletic 40 year old who stretched up on his two hind legs for a high branch and a younger bull in musth who mock charged us!

In a couple of months we're going to South Africa, Botswana and Namibia. In South Africa I hope to see eles in Addo Elephant National Park as well as in Kruger and in parks in Kwazula Natal. In Botswana we're returning to the Delta but we're also spending 3 nights at Savuti Camp which is in an area which usually has high density of eles so I'm hopeful we'll spend time with many.

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Feb 28th, 2004, 01:54 PM
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We have seen lots of elephants in game parks in Kenya. The "red" elephants in Tsavo, many elephant families in Amboseli and the Maasai Mara. The babies are so cute!
We've also seen a few in Sri Lanka, but not big herds like in Kenya.
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Feb 28th, 2004, 02:18 PM
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Red? Woo!
Is it because of the dust they coat themselves in or are their skins actually reddish?
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Feb 28th, 2004, 04:04 PM
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Sundowner, Kavey, MyriamC

Thank goodness!! I've found more elephant lovers out there!!

Kavey - the red elephants are that color due to the soil they dust bathe with (at least in Tsavo) in the dry season. They don't look quite as red if they have had recent rain (as in October).

For all of you who care as much about elephants as I do and regret what man has betowed upon them over the years - poaching and most recently repeated spearing of elephants at Amboseli, I would encourage you to do as I have just done this week and write letters to Kenya and let them know that we tourists will not continue to come to Kenya to see horribly maimed and dying elephants. I have just written to Evans Mukolwe, Director Kenya Wildlife Service; Mr. Newton Kulundu, Minister of Wildlife; Mr Tuju, Minister of Tourism and President Kibaki himself begging them to put a stop to this practice. Perhaps if they hear from other elephant lovers they will act on it. Kenya tends to blame the U.S. and Britain for all their tourism woes, but if the spearings continue tourism will be hurt even more.

Elephants are such magnificent creatures and deserve our help. On my most recent trip a Kenya Wildlife Ranger I befriended told me how an elephant saved him from a lion attack.
He was coming in from the bush monitoring the animals when he spotted a single baby totally alone - no elephants around. He didn't touch the baby but talked to it calmly and told it he would try to find its Mama. The baby followed at his heels for quite a long time. When Martin spotted an elephant family quite some distance away he started walking toward them with the baby still at his heels. The matriach of the group spotted him and started sniffing the air, so he decided to walk the long way around and come in downwind of the elephant family. He said all of a sudden the matriarch put her trunk up sniffing nd then charged right at him. He thought he would certainly be killed. She charged right past him and chased off a lion that neither he or the baby had seen. Had the matriarch not done this, either the baby or Martin would have been killed by the lion. Once she chased the lion off, she walked up to Martin and the baby, put her trunk on the baby and walked off!!

Jan
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Feb 28th, 2004, 04:21 PM
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One bit of good news that I forgot to mention. Just got a note today from my Kenya travel agent and he states
"there has recently been a ban put on the sale of game meat, so hopefully this will do something to slow down the problem".

Keep your fingers crossed everyone!

Jan
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Feb 28th, 2004, 07:34 PM
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Jan is right. Those of us who have had the privilege and honor of enjoying Africa's wildlife should make our voices heard to Kenya's officials. For those who may not know, apparently the new director of the Kenya Wildlife Service (Evans Mulkowe)has no wildlife experience, so I am not sure that is good news for Kenya's wildlife, which is in such a precarious situation to begin with. If you feel that Kenyan officials need to realize more than ever how important wildlife is to tourism, then please take a few minutes of your time and jot a paragraph or two to those people Jan listed.
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Mar 3rd, 2004, 11:27 PM
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Jan, could you give us the full address to write to please? Thanks.
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Mar 4th, 2004, 12:26 PM
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Clematis:

The addresses are:

President Mwai Kibaki
Harambee House
P.O. Box 30510
Nairobi, Kenya

Evans Mukolwe
Director Kenya Wildlife Service
[email protected]

Mr Newton Kulundu
Minister of Wildlife
Maji House
P.O. Box 49720
Nairobi

Mr. Raphael Tuju
Minister of Tourism
Utalii House, Off Uhruru Highway
P.O. Box 30027
Nairobi

Mr. Moody Awori
Vice President
Jogoo House, "A" Taifa Road
P.O. Box 30520
Nairobi

Hope this spurs some people to write and beg for a stop to the spearing, snaring and poaching.

I got another bit of good news yesterday. When I was in Amboseli a beautiful female elephant named Tulip had been speared in the trunk and didn't look like she was going to make it. I just got news that the KWS vet. had anesthetized her to check her trunk recently and it was healing well, and the hope was that she would survive. Keep your fingers crossed please.

Thanks again for caring.

Jan

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Mar 4th, 2004, 11:28 PM
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Very good news, Jan, thank you. I did not understand how sensitive and smart elephants were until I spent (too little) time with them in Africa. Let's get the letters out.
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Mar 5th, 2004, 03:43 AM
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Hi Jan! Any word on the babies that you saw who were apparently not faring well because their mothers had stopped producing milk due to their injuries? Have any of them made it to Daphne Sheldrick's place?
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Mar 5th, 2004, 03:59 PM
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SusanLynne:

I have mixed news for you elephant lovers. Just got an email tonight from one of the Amboseli researchers and she tells me that Tulip (speared through the trunk) and Louise (speared in the right front leg) are going to survive! However, Tulip's calf has never been found so it is presumed she is dead. The third female I saw who was also speared in the leg (Esmaralda) died very near the location where Dionysis died in October. Her baby also didn't survive.
I was told "soon we are going to have a veterinarian stationed in Amboseli" so hopefully no more elephants will die.

I was told that sadly an older man who was not "quite right" was wandering alone in the park one night and stumbled upon some bull elephants, and the elephants killed him so one of the bulls was shot because the Maasai were going to retaliate against the elephants for the man's death. My fear is that unless the Maasai stop the practice of spearing, there will be a lot more human deaths. The elephants will remember who injured or killed one of their families and they will eventually get even.

I was thanked for writing the Kenyan officials because it will "mean more coming from tourists than from the researchers", so if you care about wildlife and elephants in particular please write the Kenyan officials.

Jan
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Mar 5th, 2004, 04:02 PM
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Sorry, I forgot to mention - I just read an article on the Daily Nation "Review laws on game management" that you all might like to look at. There is much confusion as to wildlife management and "a task force on wildlife policy is long overdue".

Jan
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Mar 5th, 2004, 05:15 PM
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Jan, I am afraid that "thanks" is an entirely inappropriate word for the elephant news, but it is about all that I can think of. May Esmaralda, Dionysis and all the others be rejoined in an unearthly place of lush vegetation, ample water and no humans, whether Masai or tourists. They have earned the right to be left in peace ... My thoughts are with you Jan since I know how important the Amboseli elephants are to you. But such good news about Tulip and Louise - go, girls, go!!!!!
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May 22nd, 2004, 02:06 PM
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hi, being an ele lover myself. i will have to come back here and read this. thanks, if anyone is still checking on this.
david
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May 22nd, 2004, 04:17 PM
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To anyone interested in elephants, check out sheldrickwildlifetrust.org and read about the newest elephant orphan Naserian rescued from Samburu.
If you're feeling generous you could also adopt this cute baby for $50.00 a year!

Jan (Mama Tembo)
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Jun 1st, 2004, 02:32 AM
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Hi Jan and all the Ele lovers out there.
Jan, thanks for the info on Sheldrick's Eles. I will adopt one and give to the de-snaring team in TSAVO!
Thank You!!
David
ps, hope a few others will do the same.
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Jun 4th, 2004, 12:45 PM
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Jambo Mama Tembo. (Kichwa Tembo ???)

Thank you for all the information in this thread. As one who was born and raised in Kenya (but no longer live there unfortunately), visited all the
national parks and lodges while on safaris and love the wildlife - especially the elephants, I have much to take away from the foregoing postings and will certainly write to the people listed there. I am surprised to find that I knew of one of them in their younger days. Daphne Sheldrake was an acquaintance of my mother and we knew of all that she did (and is doing) with the giraffe sanctuary. The Adamsons (Joy and George)were also known to my parents (my sister helped type one of his manuscripts) and Richard Leaky was briefly an MP for the area where we lived. He frequently visited my junior school for fascinating talks about his family's archaeological work. I don't mean to name-drop but merely wish to emphasise why and how the conservation of that country's wonderful and irreplaceable natural resources are important to me. I was lucky to grow up with it. While friends who still live there tell me that things are improving, I think theres still a long way to go.

Kwaheri and have a good weekend.
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Jun 4th, 2004, 02:24 PM
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Mathieu:

Thanks for your note. You must have had a wonderful childhood being brought up knowing so many wonderful conservation-minded people.

Despite the hard fight these people are carrying out, the wildlife in all Africa needs all the help it can get. The Daily Nation reported last week that many in Kenya want to open big game hunting, letting landowners decide what wildlife stays and goes on their property and owning "their" animals and re-instituting culling the elephant herds.

For years Kenya was the leader in conservation, but it seems that it needs all the help it can get now. Too many greedy people are taking the "if it pays it stays" attitude, and if that happens it won't be long before the wildlife is gone - the same as the bison, wolf and wild cats that we used to have here in the U.S.

If the U.S. would remove the travel advisory allowing more people to go on safari it might help. The large drop in tourism I am sure isn't helping the wildlife situation. The people have to make money somehow, and if tourism isn't working then they will make it other ways. There are those of us who thumb our noses at the advisories, but many take it to heart and are afraid to go.

For anyone who has ever dreamed of going on safari, I would go now when there are still lots of animals to see because if these ideas that they are floating around come to fruition, there may not be much to see in the future.

Jan
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Jun 5th, 2004, 07:50 AM
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Hi Jan, I forwarded an e-mail to you from my KENYA guide. He also is very upset and surprised at this foolishness!
I am sure he will start asking around about it.
Thanks, david
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