It’s Monday 19th September 2005 and the Short Trunk

Well it has been a strange week. Jo was away in Lusaka, Simon and Shanie in Lilongwe, Kerri in Lusaka and Ross was also “on off” as they say here. So none of my usual photographers were around!

However, Christina Bonetti, who stayed with us recently, emailed me with some pictures and the following account.  The elephant in question is doing well.

“I wanted to share with you something that has stuck with me since visiting.  On our first afternoon game drive out of Tena Tena, we came upon a small herd of elephants and there was one baby that caught everyone’s eye.  Part of his trunk was missing…Chris, our guide had stated that he might have lost it from a snare of a poacher or from a crocodile.  It just broke my heart to watch him try and eat.  He would have to get down on his forelegs to eat the leaves and grasses.  We would catch his mother at times gathering up a pile of goodies for him.  He was still nursing from his mother and Chris assured us that he would survive.  We named him Alphie because he reminded us of a cartoon character from a T.V. show called “Alf”.


On our first morning game drive out of Nsefu, we came upon a larger herd of elephants and low and behold, there was Alphie.  I was so happy to see him again.  As we watched this herd graze, witnessing Alphie teetering over to eat some grass, Jason, our guide (he was so GREAT) agreed with what Chris had to say regarding the snare.  He also reassured us that he should make it.  Jason told us that right now it may be a little difficult because the grasses are low but when the wet season comes and the grasses grow, it will be easier for Alphie to reach food.   I just can’t help but think about how limited he will be without part of his trunk.   As I watched other elephants use their trunks to drink, spray water on them or throw dirt or mud on their bodies, pull branches and leaves off trees, my thoughts would go to little Alphie and wondered how he will make it.”

It is not uncommon to see this and they seem to learn to snort things up and then blast them out of their trunks well – I have even seen an elephant eating marula fruit in this way –  a bit like picking up peanuts with a straw and transferring them to a dish. Am I the only one that played that game as a child, certainly everyone else in the office looked at me rather strangely when I made this analogy!

altI have added this picture of a hippo being harassed by a hyena in daylight taken by Kerri a while back.

Also a couple from last season to illustrate why we are staying open from Jan to March this year – just imagine boating into the lagoons and experiencing the vibrant colours and stormy skies that up until now we have kept to ourselves!


And finally Nkwali tree platforms are now open for business. Guests are being treated to lunch or even just siesta time visits up in the tree canopy. We also have guests sleeping up there for the night and the last couple who did this were treated to not only a family of elephant wandering right under them at dawn but they were then followed by a herd of buffalos – amazing!


Well that’s it from me. It just remains for me to thank all of the applicants for the grape feeding job. Unfortunately Jo has put her foot down and says that I do not have time to lie around being waited on hand and foot!

Stay well and have a great week.

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