Chamilandu takes Mutaanzi David for a drink in the old boma pools
After spending 4 years, free roaming in Kafue National Park, elephant orphan, Chamilandu made a significant life decision to return to the elephant boma 2.5 years ago to give birth to her calf, Mutaanzi David, Zambia’s first wild born elephant from an orphaned elephant mother.
From that moment on, Chamilandu has led her precious calf back to the safety of the boma of the Release Facility every evening, acknowledging the place where they are safe from predators. Without a mature herd of her own for defence, she must have understood the risks of single parenting in the wild.
But she has recently had a change of heart! After demonstrating resistance to returning inside the boma gate, Chamilandu has led Mutaanzi away from the orphan herd and instead sought the company of Tafika to resume her free-roaming lifestyle.
Elephants in the wild, Tafika, Chamilandu and Mutaanzi David
This sudden change in her decision-making sparks a whole host of emotions for the team who have raised her since she was 1.5 years old.
Whilst we are thrilled to see her wandering off into the wild where she belongs, we can’t help but be concerned for the safety of Mutaanzi who at 2.5 years old is still very vulnerable to predators. We are however reassured by seeing her close proximity to Tafika, now a significant bull of 13.5 years, who has had close experience with lions, and since they both wear satellite collars we are able to track their movements around the clock and can confirm they are moving side by side not too far from the camp.
Chamma’s decision to leave the boma at this time could be prompted by a number of factors: her need for a greater and wider variety of food sources 24hrs a day, the 14 year habit of having used the old boma, her hormonal drive returning to mate again or perhaps she feels safer at this time of year when prey species are plentiful and lions’ have other ‘easier’ pickings.
Tafika, Chamilandu and Mutaanzi David seen in the early morning
walking along the outskirts of camp
Whilst we will undoubtably continue to ‘worry’ about Mutaanzi we are however comforted by the fact that Chamilandu is taking control and once again making significant steps towards living a life back in the wild where she truly belongs.
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