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Encounter with Essien
Amboseli Elephants are renowned for their tolerance to close proximity to human beings. This makes them easy to study and offers a close wildlife encounter to tourists. The lack of fear is mostly displayed by individuals and families that use and forage in conflict-free areas and by those that mainly use the park as their home range. It’s a different case with families that are exposed to poaching and human-elephant conflicts: they won’t let humans get to within fifty metres before taking off in a frenzied run.
AERP day to day field work has rendered some families almost oblivious to our presence with their young ones always inquisitive. Echo’s family is a perfect example being a long studied and interesting group which is known in every quarters of the world by Elephant aficionados. The young male in the pictures is Essien, a nine year old male from the EB’s family. He has another four to five years with the family before he goes independent. He was named after the Ghanaian footballer who plays for Chelsea FC in the UK. All 2002 calves were named under footballers name theme.
Essien is very friendly young bull and on this particular day as I was doing census of the EB’s he came up behind the car and gave it a light rock. He then proceeded around the car on my side while touching and smelling. My wish is to see all Elephants this peaceful and friendly. It was one of my happiest moments.