Our time at Naboisho
By Gina Poole
Sadly, our time in Naboisho is coming to a close. We’ve anticipated the day would arrive and we have a lot to accomplish before leaving.
One important aspect of the film we’re making about “growing up elephant” is to capture the essence of the landscape where our ‘families” live and move through. Naboisho’s 55,000 acres provide space where elephants come and go, crossing from one conservancy to another in the Greater Mara Region, and into the Mara Reserve. During our last weeks here we want to film the various landscapes, the dramatic weather, and paint a picture for our audience of the incredibly gorgeous light that is unique to Naboisho. This time of year in April there are brilliant white cumulous clouds against azure skies, and ominous dark storms that approach from all points of the compass.
Searching for Little E
As I wrote in the last blog, we were hopeful to see our main character, Baby E, but after not setting eyes on him for three weeks we reluctantly accepted that his family must have moved on. We are busy shooting the details that make up a film; rain drops on leaves, dappled light coming through a forest of acacia fever trees, time-lapses of clouds building and unleashing torrents of precious rain. However, pre-occupied with these important elements, I know that both Bob and I harbor a desire to run into our families, the elephants we’d come to know over the past three months. Whenever we see a group of elephants we drive over to find out by chance if they are familiar individuals. There are many elephants in the Conservancy now and it’s always with a lot of anticipation when we first approach a family.
A Familiar Face!
Then one morning, not far from Asilia’s camp I saw through my binoculars a family with a very young calf. The elephants were too far enough away to recognize anyone from a distance. We decided to go and take a closer look. When we arrived where the family was eating, the first older female I saw looked familiar. She had a unique indentation on her left ear, and I immediately said to Bob, she’s Little E’s aunt! Then we saw him. His crooked tail had straightened slightly, but those crinkled ears were even more curled over. We saw his grandmother was nearby as well as the rest of the family. In the relatively short time since we’d seen him, Little E was able to nurse more easily, with his added height making it less of a stretch to reach his mother’s breasts. He was venturing a bit farther afield, picking up small sticks, trying to twist his little trunk around a plant, kneeling down to bite an acacia seedling. But he was always under the protective eye of his family, with a reassuring touch of a trunk or gentle nudge of a foot.
We were lucky to spend a couple more days with him and then his family was gone, having left Naboisho. It was a bittersweet sighting to be honest. We’d gotten attached to him, to his sometimes “cranky” grandmother, his gentle and attentive mother, and his always protective, Allo mother.
The word Naboisho means “Coming Together” and we reflected on how important the Conservancy is for the well-being and future of not just Little E and his family, but all the wildlife who come here.We’ve had the opportunity that one can only dream about: to spend three months in the company of elephants. This was the perfect ending to our time in Naboisho, and none of this would have been possible without the support of Asilia Camp Naboisho, the Naboisho Conservancy & Rangers, and Joyce Poole and Petter Granli of Elephant Voices.
Gina and Bob Poole
About Gina & Bob Poole
No strangers to Naboisho, Bob has previously documented the life of a cheetah family in the conservancy. At Naboisho they will be following a family of elephants on their journey for a film for National Geographic WILD.
Find out more on their website.
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