I’ve spent in total a number of weeks following the elephant patrols deep in the jungles in the province of Bengkulu documenting and also aiding the work with surveys and camera traps to document the wild populations inside the TWA Seblat Conservation Area. The patrols have evolved over the last few years as poaching and illegal logging becomes more effective so to do the patrols have to be more effective. The elephants are not often used as much anymore for the regular patrols being switched out for more effective motorbike patrols.
I spent 7 months hand raising Bona and during those months I tried my darndest to implement a system for the two local (carers) mahouts so they could help with the daily milk feeds in the event of my absence when I needed to be back in the city. I succeeded in convincing one carer to provide regular feeds in that time but the second carer was a little more stubborn. It wasn’t until towards the end of the seven months that the second carer participated in a milk feed one afternoon. He was always adamant that Bona never needed any more milk. As you can see by the surprise on his face in this photo, being the first ever time he provided her a bottle of milk during some domestic training. The surpise is clear to see at how eager Bona is to take her milk.
A close up “portrait” of Harris. This is one of my favourite shots of any of my 10’s of 1000’s of photos I have taken over the last 5 years. I think this image really evokes some emotions from the scarred tusks of Harris showing the harsh life he has gone through from circus elephant to now residing and patrolling the forests of TWA Seblat.
This was my morning view for 7 whole months bottle feeding baby Bona. Most mornings she would knock on my cabin door at 5am trying to wake me up so she could get her morning milk. This particular morning she never came knocking but I found her in front of my cabin munching on the grass in the field. I think this was the signal of change for her feeding habits.
Merry Christmas from the elephants of Sumatra. I hope you’re getting an environmentally friendly gift this Christmas. 🙂
———— HOW TO SUPPORT ME —————
If you want to support my documentation work and some of my projects directly related to the conservation of this amazing species you can head to some of the links below.