4th-8th March 2013 – Week in Review
By Lia Koehn, USA
My last week on the project was a great one for ele watching. It has been very hot and dry the past few weeks, and the elephants had started spending all of their time in or near the Conservation Forest. As the CF extends quite a distance away from the village, they can be very far away. The area they were in this week was a lush older-growth section way over the hill. So starting on Monday we got a ride in Sonchai’s pickup to the edge of the forest. Getting that much closer to the eles quickly, and before beginning our hikes meant that we were able to spend quite a bit more time actually observing them, and were happy to follow them for longer on fresh legs.
On Monday the eles seemed agitated/excited for some reason we couldn’t determine. Boon Jan and Mae San Jap were trumpeting and rumbling a lot just outside of our view. It could have been that they sensed the change in the weather, for as soon as we had arrived back in the village an epic rainstorm descended, complete with thunder and lightning. It rained again on Tuesday, but not as hard. We were able to complete the health checks on all four eles both Tuesday and Thursday, everyone seems to be doing very well.
Throughout the week Boon Jan seemed to be hanging out mostly with Mae San Jap and Mario. Pbee Mai and Mah Nah were always together of course, usually with Thong Dee nearby. The group was fun to watch following the rain, as they could pull plants up with more ease and then had to fling them around to beat the soil out of the roots, which they seemed to really enjoy doing.
In the village we have been busy learning how to make pig porridge and rice whiskey, and with preparations for Daw’s wedding, which she graciously invited everyone to.