How Elephants Hide In Bushes

Mwalunganji 6

These elephant photos were taken in the very special community sanctuary of Mwalunganje near the South Kenya coast. It was set up in the 1990s to ensure the future of an important migration route from the Shimba Hills to Tsavo East National Park AND as means to provide compensation to 300 smallholder farmers whose crops were being destroyed by the herds. The farmers retained ownership of the land in the form of shares, and many of them took up posts running the sanctuary as a tourist attraction. The project continues to be run (or at least it was still going last year) with the support of the Kenya Forest and Wildlife Services and the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. (More photos at this link).

The Mwalunganje sanctuary is extraordinary terrain, a remnant Jurassic Forest survivor that still supports many cycads. They look like small palm trees and, as living survivors from a 200 million year old forest, are a seriously endangered species.

Mwalunganji elephants 2

Mwalunganje Hill is also a sacred place for the local Duruma people. Here there is kaya, a palisaded space where traditional rites are performed by the elders. On the day when we went to look for it there was a tree blocking the trail – frustrating for a nosy mzungu, but then I thought, ‘quite right too. You have not been invited there.’

There’s more about the sanctuary HERE

Mwalunganji elephants 3

13 thoughts on “How Elephants Hide In Bushes

  1. I’ve read that in elephant parks and sanctuary preserves the elephants turn around so that the people can see only the elephant backs. It is suggested that they are trying to hide their tusks from humans by facing away as they know what happens to them because of ivory seekers.

    1. Hi Carl. There are certainly accounts from colonial days when White Hunters were out scouting for ivory. Aviator Beryl Markham who did tracking for hunters by air reported that big bulls tended to hide their tusks.

    1. It is such a fabulous place and all very new in our day. I can’t even remember how we found out about it, but we must have been staying on the south coast at the time. The landscape there is unlike any other I’d seen. You do live in a wonderful land, Mak (human problems apart). Of the latter I gather from The Nation online today that you’ve had unwelcome deluges in Nairobi; along with water shortages on the estates.

      1. Water shortages caused partly by the road construction necessitating relocation of pipes.
        We have had rains past few days but not very heavy. Hopefully they give us a break. We are just coming though the cold months.

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