The rainy season is off to a normal start, which is a beautiful thing. It’s incredible how quickly everything is changing day to day with much-needed rain. It’s raining at least a little bit each day, and sometimes a few times a day. Everything and everyone here seems to be appreciative of the rains. The palms are starting to put out new shoots. We had a decently heavy rain a few days ago that added noticeable depth to the ponds.
As the flames approached the elephant habitat during the fire, the firefighters started a back burn across the creek in Yards 4 & 5 to protect the elephants. That’s the only part of the habitat that burned. The elephants love those pastures in the rainy season but tend to not visit those areas as much in the dry season. We suspect it is because that area tends to be hotter than the rest of the habitat when it’s dry. The girls hadn’t been out there in a few weeks before the fires, and they still haven’t returned.
We try to periodically discuss how elephants (and all megafauna) are essential to the environment. Wild elephants continue to have a substantial impact on where they live in South-East Asia and Africa. Megafauna have been extinct in South America for thousands of years, so it’s interesting to see how elephants have impacted the land here. In general, Asian elephants usually bring their habitat into a healthier state, and these girls are no exception. We have seen positive impacts on the environment here.
Despite firsthand knowledge as well as reading countless studies and news articles on the topic, we have been surprised to see the positive impact elephants have on regrowth after fires. If you look closely at this photo, you can see a clear line of regrowth between what is inside the fence and what is outside the fence. Immediately after the fire, both sides looked identical. As you can see, the growth inside the habitat is much lusher and growing back way faster. The area outside the fence is just not recovering in the same way. These pastures are an area that the elephants haven’t visited since the fire, but the difference is still apparent. We can’t say specifically how they caused this difference, but it’s very evident to see.
Photo of Yard 4.
October 22, 2020