14-11-2017 by Giovanna Grampa
Finally the rain has arrived, the animals come out of their torpor and after the disastrous drought it is now great party for everyone.
And life begins to return.
Just a few weeks ago, the Tsavo East presented hallucinating scenes of devastation of red and bark and dead trees, stripped of bark and foliage, tending the bare branches in a tormenting supplication towards the azure African sky.
Now the rains have transformed the ruggedness of the soil into endless puddles and made green grass grow where before there was only dust and dryness. The soil is soft and moist and the grass is bright green. The contrast with the red earth makes the dreamlike, heavenly atmosphere. Soft and dreamy shades of green after the monochromatic sepia of the burnt savannah and deeply suffering.
The Tsavo is now largely as luxuriant as a cultivated field and emits a mild and exciting smell: the smell of tender grass, small blossoming flowers, mixed with thousands of other intoxicating scents. What an enchanted land is the savannah!
Everywhere hungry herbivores graze a new life on a turf, and entire herbs of elephants bring to the mouth with generous greed and turtlenecks of grass until they swell their slim cheeks, shaking the big ears almost in gestures of happiness.
Everyone must recover a prolonged period of malnutrition that has transformed them from powerful animals into increasingly thinner, skeletal but above all weaker beings, reduced to ghosts of the savannah. The months of drought have left deep marks.
According to recent estimates, Tsavo has lost about two hundred elephants between adults and children. The elderly have ended their lives for starvation, while the younger ones have ended their lives, as if they were all too easy preys for ruthless cats. The tribute paid is very heavy and still today many exanimous bodies are drying in the sun, torn apart by carnivores and hungry vultures that appear in ever increasing numbers, sailing high on the vast wings, tracing wide circles before falling to the ground on the decaying carcasses. A tragedy of vast proportions.
But it's time for positive balance sheets and thinking about the future of the park, new life, birth planning and growing new puppies.
With the rain, the newborn babies also seem to be blossoming.
Families of cats care for a good number of lively puppies, young females of cercopyteus wander around with their young children firmly entangled and always ready to suck milk, ostriches and warthogs move with their offspring in the following.
Even the small elephants, which have been drastically reduced, find nourishment in their breastmilk, now highly energetic, and then skip alongside their mothers while enjoying the tender vegetation that has recently grown up.
And those who have not yet generated a new offspring are preparing to do so.
The influence of an increased hormonal rate in the circulating air is felt.
Groups of male elephants in "musth" go through the savannah with a frightening attitude, smelling in the air the pheromones of some female that, shortly, will enter into oestrum, ready to transmit their genetic heritage.
Wonderful male Kudu with spiral horns, they face each other in combat for dominance while the graceful females are watching.
Recently, two leopards have also been spotted in pairs and in a few months the number of these splendid cats will increase.
And while the skewers also make their balls of wet land and dung roll vigorously, food destined to feed future unborn children, the savannah all around frinisce of insects and birds from melodious and frenetic whirlpools.
One last but not least.
The large elephant groups finally returned to the Tsavo park.
The abundance of food will once again favour the socialization of herds and the union of the various families will also encourage the exchange of genes and a positive variability in the population of the pachyderms in the park.
Tsavo is therefore a land of famine and abundance, but of such a unique wild beauty, made up of boundless spaces and intense smells of animals, so much so as to upset the senses and for us this red land, for a long time, has been flowing in the blood.
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