The Amakhala team enthusiastically supports World Elephant Day, an opportunity to celebrate the magnificent elephants we protect and treasure, and to appreciate their crucial role in our environment. This year’s celebration is also extra special, thanks to the surprise arrival of a baby elephant earlier in 2018.
• Annual international event on 12 August
• Dedicated to preserving and protecting the world's elephants
• Creates awareness, shares knowledge and promotes solutions for protecting and managing elephants
Protecting our Elephants
Credit: Amakhala Game Reserve & Mark Palmer
At Game Reserves like Amakhala, African elephants are cared for and protected against two of the biggest threats they face: habitat loss and poaching.
Habitat loss leaves elephants isolated, hampers breeding, and forces elephants closer to humans, increasing incidents of crop damage and human-elephant casualties, while intensifying poaching.
Poaching, driven by the demand for ivory, has increased alarmingly over the last few years. The African elephant’s current conservation status is listed as "Vulnerable" on the IUCN Red List of threatened species.
Appreciating our Elephants
Credit: Natalie Fowler
Elephants are known as a keystone species: they have an important impact on their environment and its biodiversity.
Water Finders - Elephants are great at finding water, even underground. During dry spells, they dig water holes in dry river beds for themselves and other animals.
Food Resource – As elephants eat, they drop fruit, branches and leaves for other animals to reach. Dung-beetles, birds and baboons also eat the seeds and nuts in elephant droppings.
Fertiliser - Nutrient-rich elephant dung is a perfect fertiliser, feeding depleted soils and improving soil condition.
Seed Germination – Seeds ingested germinate as it passes through elephants’ guts and are then ‘’planted’’ in their dung, creating plant diversity and boosting ecosystem health.
Path Makers – The paths elephants create as they walk benefit the eco-system, encouraging new plant growth and creating migration routes for other animals.
Credit: Natalie Fowler
At Amakhala, the beauty of an elephant herd roaming its natural habitat can still be appreciated in its full splendour, allowing locals and visitors to truly experience the amazing nature of these iconic creatures.
“Amakhala's elephant herd loves to take a swim in the Bushman's River,” says Natalie Fowler, Ecologist at Amakhala. “After a swim they take mud baths to protect their hides from the harsh African sun. The herd travels kilometres every day in search of food and water. They particularly enjoy eating cabbage trees - the leaves and bark are soft and full of water.”
Meet our New Baby Elephant!
Earlier this year, Amakhala staff and visitors were delighted by a new baby elephant, a male, who weighed in at a hefty 100kg. He is in great health, suckling well and keeping up with the ever-moving herd.
“Displaying their intelligence and caring, the herd shows exemplary teamwork and co-operation in protecting and teaching the new offspring,” says Fowler. “It’s such a privilege to witness the mother and grandmother touching and guiding the little one with their trunks and helping him to keep up.”