By Gina Poole
Rain is a blessing, especially in this part of the world where people, wildlife, and domestic animals all depend on it for survival. Weeks passed without rain and we were starting to worry that the long-rains might fail this year. The landscape had become parched with water holes drying up and the earth cracking as the last bits of moisture evaporated. The winds were constant and temperatures reached record levels throughout Kenya. Our concern grew as days went by without any sign of a change in the weather. But while we waited, nature was teaching us about its resiliency.
Elephants are highly intelligent and depend on the memories of their matriarchs to help them survive when life gets difficult. One thing we noticed while filming during these weeks of drought was that the elephants were in small family groups, where once we had seen larger numbers all together. It seemed that perhaps during times of scarcity the families split up: perhaps to share precious resources over a greater area.
Safety in numbers
One afternoon we witnessed an interesting occurrence. We were following our main character newborn calf, Little E, near the Talek River, one of the few remaining sources of water in Naboisho, and in an area elephants tend to avoid as it’s close to human settlement on the Conservancy’s eastern boundary. Seemingly out of nowhere, a huge number of elephants arrived. Over sixty elephants, including many enormous bulls, all converged, eating sickle bush and acacia. They crossed over to the other side of the river, outside of the Conservancy, after mud bathing and drinking. We wondered was the proximity to people why they all arrived at the same time? Was it a deliberate coming together for more safety in numbers, in order to drink from the scarce body of palatable water? We thought if that were true, then the intention displayed by that behavior was remarkable.
The power of Mother Nature
We had to leave the Conservancy for a week, and during that time Naboisho transformed into a verdant, beautiful landscape. The rains had finally come, rejuvenating the earth and the wildlife. The acacias bloomed and mushrooms popped up everywhere. The grass started to grow again and elephants were enjoying eating the shortest possible blades you can imagine a trunk successfully twisting off. It’s amazing that such a large animal eats these little bits. I imagine they must taste like dessert to an elephant, especially after months of going without the tender shoots.
Babies of Naboisho
Now that Bob and I are back, we’re concentrating on other aspects of our elephant film. Elephant calves aren’t the only baby animals in the Conservancy and the past days we’ve been lucky to spend time with one of the resident lions prides: the Sampu Enkare. Between two adults females, the pride has six cubs. During a visit to Naboisho you are guaranteed to see lions, as the Conservancy has one of the highest densities of lion in all of Kenya.
Our time is winding down here and we can’ think of a better way to enjoy this special place…..well, other than perhaps another sighting of our smallest star, Baby E!
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. If you are joining us in camp soon, you will have the opportunity to meet them and maybe even join a game drive where you find out what it takes to make one of these films.To find out more please contact your trusted travel agent or contact us.
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