The new Matriarch
A photo of the new Matriarch supplied by our community worker Mr Shukrani Malemo.
Part of his client group is a small herd of elephant well known to the Mbirikili Village community.
All herds have a matriarch and in the photo we see a young matriarch – her larger mother would have been felled by poachers. Hopefully the younger one had already learnt enough from her mother to help the herd survive.
The matriarch is at the forefront of the herd, initiating communication and keeping a watchful eye, possibly next to her teenage son on her left. It appears that he is coming into his first “musk”, meaning that looking for a mate maybe on his mind. You can see this from the wet streak behind his eyes. Is he the playful young elephant that gives the village rangers some running exercise and entertainment, as mentioned in a past blog?
It is very important for the matriarch to learn about the new village regime of being herded back into The Serengeti. Once she controls the herd’s compliance, it will be safe for the rangers to introduce interactive tourism where visitors can help in herding the elephant back into the national park. When this happens, the villagers will be able to keep the elephants out of the fields until harvest. Once harvested, the matriarch can lead the herd onto the ‘shamba’ (farm) to feed on the residual plant husks and of course contribute to the health by dumping fertiliser.
In due course, and with the great help of our donors, foremost The Rotary Club Darwin North in Australia, we plan to work with the villagers to construct a small weir below a perennial spring which gurgles pristinely clean water into a small stream.
The stream attracts wildlife to its banks which are churned into mud, contaminating the water and making it difficult to drink. The idea is to provide the wildlife with access to a large waterhole fed by the spring. This, of course, also ensures protection of the source. Hence perpetual clean clear water for the villages and school nearby.