Susannah from Lewa Wildlife Conservancy has stopped by the Wild Wire to share with us a new addition to the Lewa elephant family.
Late in the afternoon on 4 October, a tremendous commotion was heard below our house – elephants continuously trumpeting and rumbling. Clearly, something was amiss; so, we quickly went down to investigate. When we arrived, we immediately saw the cause for all of the excitement.
The Vegetable family was celebrating the birth of the newest addition to the family. Artichoke had just given birth to a baby girl! The tiny calf was still wet and very wobbly; the afterbirth was hanging on a nearby clump of grass. Artichoke remained amazingly calm despite our presence, and we watched in awe as she used her trunk to help her newborn find the teat and take her first suckle.
Artichoke had given birth in the riverbed below our house, where several times a week we put out salt as well as grass covered with molasses. The elephant come on a regular basis to enjoy a “snack” along with fresh water – often followed by a mud bath. Artichoke, the matriarch and decision maker of the Vegetable family, chose to remain in the riverbed for another 5 days, giving her new baby time to build its strength before leading the family out onto Lewa. Spinach, Artichoke’s older daughter, was very protective and attentive. She will help to care for her new sibling, as this is how young female elephant prepare for motherhood. In fact, the following week, we even saw Spinach attempting to suckle her new baby sister.
While we were sitting with the family, I noticed that Celery has telltale signs of a mom to be, this could only mean one thing – Celery is pregnant, as well!
There are those who would disagree, but I have no doubt that Artichoke came to the house to give birth, knowing that here she was sure to find food, water and, most importantly, safety and security.