One fine morning in 2019, Chenjerai Chimukoro woke up to a herd of nearly 70 elephants in his farm working their way through his sorghum, cotton, and maize plants. He knew that he had to act fast to save what was left of the crop and ensure that his family would have something to eat come harvest time. Luckily, he was prepared.
Bomas are traditional wooden or thorn-bush/wire mesh enclosures designed to keep cattle in and predators out. With help from African Wildlife Foundation, Tanzanian Maasai pastoralists living around Manyara Ranch have benefited from an upgrade: mobile, predator-proof, metal bomas.
As a young lawyer, I was nervous yet excited to be stationed in Tsavo — the largest wildlife ecosystem in Kenya. This landscape carries the biggest populations of elephants in the country. Working amid this beautiful natural resource in southern Kenya is one of the reasons I took up the job with African Wildlife Foundation monitoring wildlife crime cases in the four law courts located in Tsavo.
The world’s largest terrestrial mammal is also famed for being notoriously water-dependent. African savannah elephants in temperate rangelands drink water almost daily and love a mudbath to stay cool. Yet, in northern Mali’s Gourma region and the vast Namib Desert, this fascinating pachyderm survives despite the low rainfall and intense heat. These herds, aptly named desert elephants, traverse long distances in brutal arid environments with only seasonal rivers and scant vegetation for sustenance.
The newcomer to Manyara Ranch was not hard to flush out. Two rangers crept around a bend toward its hiding spot — a thicket at the edge of a large pond. With a sudden rush from the foliage, the hippo flew out and into the water with a decisive splash.