It was late Wednesday afternoon. I had no luck fishing in the Terminal channel, and, since bicycling, decided to return home before dark. 6pm, 50 meters before the bikepath barricade separating forest from savanna, two elephants step out into the path. I quietly stop and assess my options should they notice me and feel threatened. They pause for several minutes before squeezing through the trail pass to the savanna side of the barricade. As they loiter in front of the trail pass, I wait patiently for them to move on. To my right, I pick up the sounds of vegetation cracking and realize there must be more elephants coming through the forest edge. Without hesitation, three elephants step out onto the trail, pausing for some grumbling conversation. The two larger squeeze through the trail pass, the smaller juvenile, meanwhile, steps between rungs of the barricade fence, first one foot, then the other, then one back leg, then the last. There is still shuffling in the vegetation and I decide it is getting too late to allow the elephants to pass, so I turn to leave, and as I do, three more elephants step into the trail. By now it is 6:20 and the shadows are deepening, creating concern should any more elephants appear, especially if they might surround me on the path. So I exit to the production road, detour around forest to tarmac, stopping to call Lisa to report the elephant sighting so that Mirielle, the visiting elephant specialist, can observe before nightfall.
Cycling along the tarmac, passing the bike trail, I see a herd of elephants congregating. Mirielle arrives and from the safety of her vehicle we watch as 16 elephants meander across the savanna, crunching and sloshing through a marsh, re-grouping in the tall grass at the edge of the tarmac to wait for darkness before crossing into Yenzi camp.
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