Elephants exploring their new home

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The six female elephants at Samara Private Game Reserve are doing well. Since their arrival they have been carefully exploring their new home...

The first two months they stayed near the river, close to where they were released. Here, they had everything they needed - fresh water, plenty of forage, safety, and shade. They spent the warmest hours of the day resting in the shade of the sweet thorn acacias and peppertrees along the river. In the cooler parts of the day, they went exploring along the river - occasionally venturing further away from their comfort zone. These adventures were relatively short, and they would soon return to the dense vegetation at the river.

 Spot the elephant... Photo: Ida Hansen

Spot the elephant... Photo: Ida Hansen

Now, the elephants have become mountain elephants. From staying in the lowland near the river, they have now ventured up the mountain sides. They have become quite the skillful mountaineers, carving new paths through the dense vegetation and are manoeuvring up and down and along the mountain sides.

On the the mountain they have found a natural spring with clean and cool water, some shady resting spots, and a smorgasbord of delicious trees - cabbage trees, spekbooms, jacketplums etc. All of these trees are very palatable to elephants - for them it is possibly the closest things to candy in the veld.

The job of an elephant monitor requires observation of elephants. Trying to find them from the base of the mountain using binoculars is not enough. So, the elephant monitor has become a mountaineer as well. Climbing up rolling rocks, navigating through dense vegetation, ducking through bushes, and trying to keep up with the elephants. The elephants move quickly, adeptly, and relatively silently in the mountain. One would think that they have never been anywhere else.

The elephants are still settling in, exploring, and adjusting to their new home. And they will continue to do so for a while. There is still much of the reserve to explore. And we will continue to explore with them...

 The family group enjoying a mudbath, while they were still in the lowland. Photo: Ida Hansen

The family group enjoying a mudbath, while they were still in the lowland. Photo: Ida Hansen

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Ida Hansen