August 2021

Elephants and the onset of the dry season

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Elephants and the onset of the dry season

Well, it’s August and the coolness from June and July is fading away; it’s getting drier by the day. This is the special time of year where the permanent water sources become great attractions for many of the wildlife, and in turn, provides amazing game viewing.

The Sasakwa Dam is one of those special places; on one occasion we even witnessed elephant numbers of up to 147, of five different families that met at the waterhole to drink and splash some mud on their bodies as a means of thermoregulation to block out the heat.

We witnessed one family that had two very young elephant calves, and it was interesting to see how the mother observed and assisted them coming down to the waterhole and letting them try the use of their trunks to get water. Most calves below six months of age have not really mastered the use of the trunk to do this. In suckling they fold their trunks upwards while drinking with their mouths, since the trunk is the fusion of the upper lip and nostrils.

We observed the young ones playing with their trunks while figuring out a way to drink water; this became a highlight for guests who had been to Africa before but had not had the opportunity to spend time with such young elephants.

Seeing such a number of elephants tells a wonderful story of what the Grumeti Fund does for conservation and mitigating human wildlife conflict.  

James Ikamba
By James Ikamba
Field Guide