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A couple of months ago I did an interview with the IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare) team that was visiting us. They are one of our major supporters. They happened to ask me about elephant mothers and calves and they have released the video for Mothers' Day in the US.
A number of people have asked about an apparent paradox, that in most of Africa (East, West and Central Africa) elephants are apparently facing major threats from poaching and land use competition, while in southern Africa there are said to be "too many elephants". There are several factors coming together to create this divergence of viewpoints.
The facts seem to be that:
We are delighted to hit another landmark in our baby boom. Since the 12th of October, we've now documented 150 births. These calves are thriving, having been born in an above-average rainfall year. It's a delight being around the families, even though the terrain is becoming increasingly water-logged and harder for us to get to the elephants.
The MA family was first sighted and photographed on March 26, 1975. It appeared to be a small family, and therefore it should have been a simple group to work out, but it never was. There were six members present that first day including two adult females. It was not until six months later that I saw them again and got better photographs of them. Over the next six months and actually up until 1978 I struggled to figure out who belonged to the MA family. The problem was that the MAs were closely bonded to the WAs led by the matriarch Wendy.
Yesterday Katito Sayialel found four new born calves which brings the baby boom total to 102! Katito wins the prize and tonight we're all gathering to celebrate this amazing phenomenon.
Photos of the new calves will follow soon.