The Amboseli Elephant Research Project is the longest study of wild elephants in the world. We work to understand the lives and ensure the future of 1,500 elephants in the Amboseli ecosystem fed by the waters of Kilimanjaro.
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Have a look at Ushahida, a Kenyan people-driven website with news and blogs on the situation. On first read, it seems quite balanced and factual. ('Ushahida', by the way, is Swahili for 'testimony' or 'evidence'.) The site points to other blogs and commentaries from Kenyans and others inside and outside the country. For example, it announces a fund raiser called One Kenya, One Voice that's being held in Boston on 2 February. (And 'vuma' means 'rumble', 'roar', or the sound a distant drum makes.) Where there are voices like these, there is surely hope.
I'm writing this blog on Saturday, January 19. On Wednesday, Thursday and Friday there was mass action to protest the Kenya elections. Unfortunately, more people were killed. However, yesterday Raila Odinga announced that there would be no more public rallies for now. He has said that ODM will try to get justice in other ways. Mediation efforts are continuing. Kofi Annan will be arriving on Tuesday and along with some other eminent Africans he will try to help Kenya resolve its problems. We are hoping for the best.
I wish I could report that Kenya was peaceful and that the political turmoil has ended, but unfortunately the situation remains very tense. There is far less rioting and protesting but the outcome of the election still remains unresolved in the minds of at least half the Kenyan population. The Chairman of the African Union and President of Ghana, John Kufour, is here trying to mediate between Mwai Kibaki and Raila Odinga.
Together with all Kenyans we are following with sadness and anxiety the violent turmoil in the aftermath of the elections which took place on the 27thDecember. Right now it is difficult to see how this conflict will end. Our hope is that negotiations behind the scene will lead to a political solution that will be to the benefit of all.
It’s December 31 and a few hours until the New Year. It’s also four days since the Kenya elections and I know that many of you watching the news must be worried about Kenya and those of us at the Amboseli Trust for Elephants.
Earth tremors have once again shaken Cynthia and her camp visitors in their camp chairs. Regular visitors to our site will remember the note on a series of seismic events back in July. This time, at 16:45 local time on 23rd December, there was just one 5.4 magnitude shock.
A few days ago on a drive around the park one would notice that things weren’t looking all that promising for the animals because Amboseli was yet to receive proper rain to sustain its wildlife population. On some days it would get very hot by nine in the morning and elephant families tend to arrive into the swamps early to beat the scorching sun. Young calves born this year are the ones getting it worse.
Echo glides past
Echo of the Elephants again... In this YouTube video we see Echo, matriarch of the EB family, shepherding half her family over one of the few green grass patches left near the end of this very poor rainfall year.
I was resisting the temptation to post more of Cynthia's and my 'home movie', thinking that folks might get a bit bored, but then I read Sara Cowgill's recent comment, "For me, elephants don't have to be drinking water to be exciting, they don't have to be giving birth, or dying, or copulating, or fighting. I want to see them lumbering along, the sounds they make talking to each other and the breath, the foot pad making contact with the earth, the sounds of the skin rubbing, the tail swishing ...". OK, so here's more 'lumbering along' (more like gliding, in fact) ...
Peter Dennis asked in a recent comment, "how Ely is doing?" Good question. Those of you who have seen the first of the three-part BBC Echo of the Elephants TV series will remember Ely as Echo's fourth calf, the heroic little fellow born in 1990 who overcame a birth defect that crippled his front legs for nearly a week until after innumerable tries he forced himself to stand.