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Pizaro's musth period: a bad timing?
Musth in Elephants is a period of heightened sexual and aggressive activity characterized by a distinct posture, the musth walk, swollen and secreting temporal glands, the dribbling of strong smelling urine and very low frequency vocalizations, the musth rumble. The point at which males come into musth during the year, how long they can remain in musth, and the numbers of females in estrus around while they are in musth, all contribute to a male’s annual success or failure.
It's mid October now and the dry season still has its grip on the Amboseli National Park and its eco-system, but the occasional dark clouds the fresh smell in the air are a good sign that the rains are close. On a tour around the park, elephant families are seen in small portions feeding rather than congregating in large groups. Estrous females are nowhere to be seen, obviously busy looking for food instead of being chased around by musth and non-musth bulls. On the other hand, only about four bulls have been observed within the park in musth at this time and season. Pizaro, a 34 years old bull born in 1974 is one of the bulls now in musth and he couldn't have picked a worse time to come into musth. Pizaro came into musth in August and this (musth period) usually lasts for about three months. With his musth period nearing its end, his chances of procuring a sexually receptive estrous female is equal to none.
I spotted Pizaro yesterday on the 17th of October, lounging lazily on the edge of a swamp. He was just standing at a single spot for long hours, only mud splashing once in a while. Poor Pizaro has to hang around till the end of his musth period or might be chased out of the period if he encounters a big and older aggressive musth bull.