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New elephant calf on Karongwe

By 6 years ago
Categories Limpopo and KZN
Nobody expected it, but the news came over the radio that Karongwe’s elephant (Loxodonta africana) herd had just seen the arrival of a new calf. The nature of small fenced reserves is such that elephant populations therein need to be actively managed, so as to maintain a healthy balance between the beneficial and detrimental effects that these pachyderms have on an ecosystem. There is, of course, a huge ongoing debate on the matter, with multiple suggested management practises, some more controversial than others. Karongwe has engaged in a long term contraception program of its 4 adult females. It comes as no surprise then that the mother of the new calf seems to be an adolescent experiencing her first exploits at motherhood. 

The newborn calf was less than an hour or so old when it was first spotted by a game drive vehicle. In the interests of the herd and the calf’s welfare, the number of vehicles in their proximity has been limited. GVI got to have a look in an attempt to identify the mother and the herd was naturally showing signs of heightened excitement. There were a number of individuals surrounding the mother and her calf, as if to protect it and also get a glimpse of their newest family member. Aggression between the bulls only added to the atmosphere. Keeping a safe distance, so as not to disturb the herd, we managed to get a few pictures of the minute calf as it appeared from between the mass of legs…
 
We have since seen the herd once more and they have calmed down considerably. We hope to be able to update the blog about the new calf’s progress and any of the fascinating behaviour witnessed by the volunteers.
The little calf sticking close to its young mother, both dwarfed by ‘Mr. M’, one of the resident bulls
Andreas Fox
Base Manager
GVI Karongwe