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Renata with her dead calf
On the 12th of June 07, I set out on my normal daily field work to the western side of the park but didn’t find many Elephants, as it's normal during the dry season. Many families move out of the park and sometimes we tend to find the same family everyday.
I drove to the southwest of the park, which looks very different from the park, vegetation there is Nubica melifera, Elephants use that area when heading to the mountain and also when coming to the park to drink. I climbed a tall ant hill, [we usually call it Observation ant hill] and found only one male, 28 years old and in musth. His Name is Bronwsky and that was his first time to be in musth. I recorded him, took identification pictures and left him. I made some more rounds but found no elephants.
I drove back towards the center of the park. On my way I saw a lone female standing under a tree and I could tell there was something wrong with her, because normally females don’t spend their time alone. Her name is Renata, an adult female in the RA family. I approached her and Renata started moving the direction I was driving. I slowed down and Renata walked straight to where her two to three weeks old dead calf was lying on the ground and stood next to her. I waited for her to move so I could identify the sex of the dead calf but she didn’t budge. I waited for 20 more minutes and finally decided to move, because it was very hot. I started the engine and Renata moved again towards the vehicle, stood close to the vehicle, gave a low rumble twice and she had temporal gland secretion. It was very sad and I just wished I could reach out and touch her.
Then I saw her looking behind the vehicle with her head held high. It was Brownsky approaching. Renata moved to him and turned her back to him with her head high, rumbled and had more temporal glad secretion. Brownsky stopped next to her and Renata moved closer and started rubbing against him for about five minutes. Later Brownsky moved away and Renata followed him for a few meters. She gave up and returned back to the vehicle and again gave another low rumble. It was very sad because I knew she wanted me to do something but I couldn’t. I moved the vehicle between her and the dead calf so as to check the sex. Later as it got hotter Renata moved under a tree.
It was time to leave plus it was unbearable to just sit there and watch Renata going though all that. I saw her two days later still looking sad, but it was good to see her with her family heading to the swamp at Njiri.