Rain in the Northern Area has brought on a veritable “jungle” in the North, and with it, the tse tse flies, which have plagued both men and elephants this month. Tsavo’s tsetses do not carry the human “Sleeping Sickness”, but do carry trypanosomiasis which is deadly do domestic animals, so conservationists understand that these insects are a vital, if irritating necessity for the preservation of wildlife and wild places, inhibiting the intrusion of hordes of herdsmen and their domestic cattle. In fact, it is the tsetses that were mainly responsible for Tsavo being gazetted a National Park in the first place, since low rainfall precludes agriculture, and the tsetses, ranching.. The orphans have learnt that by plastering themselves with mud, they can limit fly attacks somewhat, but when the dry season comes, we plan to instal tsetse traps around the Night Stockade.
For the Northern orphans, therefore, it has been a festive and joyful month in terms of food availability, but because the bush is so thick, several have found themselves separated from the main group on occasions, when a bellow brings the older elephants and the Keepers back to find them and return them to the fold.. Wendi, as always, the prankster, has enjoyed “crying wolf”on several occasions, scaring all the younger orphans and sending them tearing back to the Keepers, although the older set have her measure by now! As usual Napasha features prominently, with a mind never far from the tractor and his noon day milk, disciplining Tomboi for “teasing” and tussling with Taita as well, but also backing up the larger females to deter an approaching herd of buffalo. Encounters with other species include Tomboi plucking up enough courage to chase two mating squirrels down a whole, the group joining forces to scatter a troupe of rowdy baboons and all being terrified by an eagle passing overhead. No sign of any wild elephant encounters yet, and still no sign of Imenti, who, no doubt, is enjoying the festive season elsewhere in the company of his new found Big Bull Friend.