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Good Times Again
I flew up to Nairobi from Amboseli this morning. The Park and surrounding areas are looking gorgeous. It is green and lush. The grass is thick and there are new plants I don’t remember seeing before. It is such a contrast to the last six months of 2009.
The elephants are rapidly recovering and some have clearly completely recovered. There are many females coming into oestrus and they have to be in good shape to do that. When they are in poor condition they stop reproductive cycling. Once their body fat reserves reach a certain point again the hormones kick in. They are definitely keeping the big males busy and breaking the hearts of the younger males.
Being out with the elephants is a joy once again. They are moving in big groups in which there are high rates of social interaction. One of the days I was out I was with a group of about 75 individuals from 9:30 to 12:00 and all that time they didn’t feed at all. They socialized and played, mudwallowed and swam. The food must be so rich that they can take time off from feeding.
Miraculously a few females have given birth in the last two months. I don’t know how they carried these calves through the drought. In the group of 75 there were three tiny calves and two of them were particularly fun to watch. Two female calves, the daughters of two sisters—Farida and Fortino--they were only three weeks old, but very active and unusually they were almost inseparable. Very young calves of this age stay close to their mothers and don’t start venturing away till they’re about two months old, but after suckling one or the other would leave her mother to find the other. If we hadn’t watched closely we would think they were twins.