The Elephant Wallow’s new addition to the family!!!

After a long, well worth while wait of 21 and half months Chikwenya gave birth to a healthy little
bull at 10.50pm on Wednesday the 15th November – A strapping baby bull weighing approximately 115kg and 95cm at the shoulder. He has been named ‘Lesego’ meaning ‘lucky’ in Tswana.
Lesego is Chikwenya’s first born and the birth was not without some tense moments.

Carefully monitored by the elephant team who were on the ground and at hand to console and
encourage Chikwenya through her lengthy labour, she at first rejected this bundle that splashed
ungracefully between her legs - an understandable reaction to what she must have seen as her
source of pain. The Handling team, well prepared that she may well respond in this manner were quick
to move the new born to safety until she had settled and had some recovery time from her labour ordeal and the general overwhelming commotion.

Moments of great joy ensued when the baby and Mom re-united a while later with Chikwenya displaying instantaneous, wonderful maternal instincts; tucking Lesego firmly under her protectively she accepted this new and great responsibility. Guiding his every move; warding off the curious bulls and generally exuberantly fussing over Lesego’s every move, She was in control, the bonding had begun and it was wonderful to witness; a welcome sight to the over-anxious paternal handling team whose joy
had become literally tangible at this moment.

The next milestone was to see Lesego suckling – Anxiously the team watched for the next 25 hours while Lesego tried in vain to suckle from her engorged breasts. Chikwenya, in response showed no tolerance and repeatedly moved off from his inept & desperate attempts. As the night enveloped the “Elephant Wallow” and in the safety of the woodland area Chikwenya, no doubt exhausted from the
preceding events, settled and the team sighed with relief as Lesego latched on convincingly and
at last earned his long awaited first feed.

Chikwenya and Lesego spent a peaceful first night together in the bush with only the handlers
monitoring events from a distance and witnessing this incredible bonding process.
The team’s dreams had been realized and slowly through a haze of exhaustion, the warm “fuzziness” of new beginnings dawned on all that had been witness to this awesome occasion.

Chikwenya’s bull family were at first overwhelmed and nervous after the commotion of the night’s events – When officially introduced to Lesego they initially shied back and took off, but not for long… curious trunks reaching towards Lesego are firmly seen off by Mom, who remains undoubtedly
“the Boss”, firmly authoritative and confident in her new maternal role. Lesego is a bundle of energy, delighting everyone with his playful antics and instinctive juvenile elephantine displays.
Day 2 saw this boisterous bundle wallowing in the mud with Mom, ducking his head under the water, trumpeting and snorting with convincing displays of his junior bull prowess: extended, flapping ears and swinging trunk “wheelies”, “strong boy” pushing tactics and ever- curious explorations! He is suckling
well and never far from Mom. Chikwenya’s gift to this special herd will undoubtedly contribute to normalizing the important family life of the herd.