TSAVO NATIONAL PARK ELEPHANTS
Tsavo National park Elephants : Tsavo National park is the largest national park in Kenya, in fact the park is the one of the largest in the world, Tsavo National park covers nearly 22,000km2.Tsavo national park has been split into two different regions that is the Tsavo West (6,586 km2) and Tsavo East (13,747 km2) national park, and the dividing boundary is the Nairobi to Mombasa high way, the 2 regions offer different experiences.
The elephant percentage in Tsavo National Park is as the following, (69%, n=8,614 individuals) were counted inside the protected areas; about 31% (n=3,859 individuals) were outside protected areas. About 50% of the elephants (n=6,214) were in Tsavo East National Park,22% (n=2,751) in the Taita ranches and 17% (n=2,142) in Tsavo West National Park in the past, currently the elephant population within the Tsavo Ecosystem is the largest and thus most important in Kenya, Tsavo is a home to approximately 12,000 elephants, one –third of all the elephants in Kenya. Though between 30,000 to 40,000 elephants are still being killed or poached every year which makes the number of elephants to keep reducing every year.
Tsavo’s Red elephants; The red elephants are the only red elephants in the world, actually they had the really same colour as every other elephant in the world, but they are just red due to the constantly dust-bathing with the park’ fine red volcanic soils the red molds which is laden with iron oxide has contributed to this colour of the elephants. Over 10,000 of them in the park, so the chances of seeing one are hopefully pretty high. Elephants are social animals that move in groups especially with adult females with their young ones, here you can be able to see over 100 Red dusty elephants crossing the road during your safari in the park. In that these red elephants are too attractive in that during the sunny periods the elephants becomes shinier when the sun lands on their skin as the red dust reflects light, compared to the dull days there you can’t recognize the red elephants than the sunny day. Tsavo national park elephants are the greatest attraction which are found in the large numbers in the park, the African elephants are one of the members of the African big 5 with other animals in the big 5 including the Lions, Leopards, Buffaloes and Rhinos.
Elephants are ecosystem engineers themselves in that in addition of planting seeds, they modify the habitat so that other species can utilize in the Tsavo national park, feeds on the coarse grass and bushes and allow softer grass to grow and be eaten by other species of animals. Elephant’s preferred staple food is grass and bamboo, they as well eat the lianas, wild palms, wild bananas, various shrubs and as well as the leaves and bark of certain trees, even the plants that serve as herds. Elephants are the largest animals in the park, they play a unique role in the balancing natural resources that is they help in the trampling tree species and the dense grasslands, making room for the smaller species to co –exist, elephants also create water holes used by other wildlife as they dig dry riverbeds when the periods of the rainfall are low. Elephants use their ivory for digging, lifting objects, gathering food, stripping bark from trees to eat as well as for defense.
The elephants like most of the animals in Tsavo National park have only two essential requirements to survive, first of all elephants are herbivores and that is they have to find for grasses such the Dobera glabra and platycelyphium grass species because they contain calcium and roughages which aids them during digestion, elephants feeds on bushes and the same time the elephants live in trees such as Baobabs and Delonix elata so they have to be having tree species near them as their habitats, elephants find the water from rivers, lakes for example like lake Jipe and streams those are the unique survival requirements for elephants in Tsavo National Park. Elephants use their powerful trunks to dig for roots or break off tree branches in their living environment, the elephants spend up to 60% of their day foraging for foraging for food. Elephants eat between 149 and 169kg (330-375 Ib) of vegetation daily, thus the elephants take eighteen hours or nearly 80%of elephant’s day is spent feeding.
Elephant’s lifespan is about 65 years of age or more, but an elephant calf’s first year of life is its most vulnerable time with mortality rates exceeding 30%,elephants are the animals with one of the longest gestation periods in all mammals that is nearly two years, but according to the given reports the elephants usually wait between two to five years prior to become pregnant again, but if a young elephant dies shortly after birth, the mother may become pregnant again and conceive sooner than usual.
However, the Tsavo National park elephants is among the top sighted animals park, they are permanent residents hence making it possible to be seen any time of the year during your visit. But the elephants are very gentle animals but they are very deadly when they change hence here the visitors are warned not play with them. Tsavo National park is not only famous for its red elephants but the park is also known for a good number of Lion’s hence getting the name as the park of the ‘Man-Eating Lions’, this originated during the construction of the railway time when the lions attacked and killed the railway constructors in Tsavo National park in 1898 over 135 workers were killed by the lions in the park for period of about 9 months. Therefore, the Tsavo National Park offers the best wildlife viewing in the pristine wilderness, in all the Big five the elephants are the common ones and their red dust coating makes them to stand out against the arid environment, of the big cats the lions are the most easily spotted animals in the park.