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The elephants are moving, and with one surprise!

Written By: admin on December 21, 2009 One Comment

After long and hesitant stays at permanent water sources during drier times, the elephants have finally begun to make their seasonal movements, due to a huge increase of water and food source availability. However, strangely enough, we are taking note of other factors that may also be influencing their journeys.
In the North, many elephants that were frequenting the Chobe River, have now moved south, into the lush vegetation of the forests. In the southern range, many of the bulls are moving between various pans, and to the east and west, some have just begun to wander. Even one elephant bull that we are tracking (Why track?)  has swum to an island in Lake Kariba!
But one elephant in particular, CH37, known to many as Naledi, surprised us, giving us new insight. (to see photos of CH37 sent to us, click here!) His recent movements are contradictory, compared to many elephants we have collared, which tend to move away from permanent water sources during the rains. He has traveled a long haul in a few days, over 250km, leaving  the Makgadikgadi salt pans where he was collared, working his way around a veterinary fence, and through 3 concessions and several villages, passing Moremi Wildlife Reserve, to head deep into the Okavango Delta.

Elephants are key seed dispersers, creating new habitat

Elephants are key seed dispersers, creating new habitat

This is a rather significant and interesting movement! The Makgadikgadi salt pans are riddled with “palm islands,” which is historically believed that elephants had dispersed the palm trees’ seeds within the pans when the Makgadikgadi once resembled an oasis, not unlike how the Okavango Delta is today. Naledi has provided us with undisputed evidence of its truth and is the first elephant recorded to make this relation between the two sites. Also, early evidence suggests to us, that the timing of this movement might not have anything to do with resource availability but rather he may be in search of a mate!? Or could there be another reason? Only time will tell… we will keep you posted!

Below is a simplified map to demonstrate some of the elephant movements, we have been seeing lately!

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EWB elephants move Dec'09

EWB elephants move Dec'09

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One Response to “The elephants are moving, and with one surprise!”

  1. Peter Comley says on: 22 December 2009 at 11:14 am

    Thanks for the update. I’m intrigued as to where the Lake Kariba elephant was originally collared?

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