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A Post-Fire View of the Elephants’ Positive Impact on the Environment

sanctuary after the fire

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

 

Asian habitat map rev6

Comments(14)

  1. REPLY
    Carey says

    Seeing is believing, wow what a difference, I am fascinated by that new growth and will look into this. I also knew about their ‘gardening’ , but this looks like regrow of grazed land? How did the girls use this area? Interesting to monitor both sides to compare, also difference in minerals in new growth from the ash which I wonder how the girls will like. 🌱🌱🌱🌧🌎

  2. REPLY
    Wim says

    Thank you for explaining rain and grow cyclus.
    This must mean you’re privileged to have Green Elephants on the sanctuary. There’s a lot of magic happening these days. Well done girls. 🙏🐘

  3. REPLY
    arie says

    Proves what fantastic agriculturists the elephants are.
    We ought to treasure them..
    🤔
    … mmm.. we already are, aren’t we 🤗❤️

  4. REPLY
    SHEILA says

    YES! INDEED 🐘🐘🐘🐘🐘ELEPHANTS ENHANCE ENVIRONMENTS‼️ FROM THE DUNG THEY LEAVE WITH SEEDS INSIDE FOR REGROWTH, THEIR FOOT PRINTS IN THE SOIL LEAVES INDENTATIONS FOR MORE WATER TO SETTLE AND NOURISH THE SEEDS AND SMALL PLANTLIFE! PLUS THE MUD THEY CARRY IN THEIR BODIES FROM POND MUDDING SUNSCREEN! WILL FALL OFF AND NOURISH THE GROUND AS WELL AS THEY TRAVEL ABOUT. PUSHING TREES DOWN IS ALSO A GOOD THING SO SUNLIGHT! RAIN! AND SOAVE CAN ASSIST IN NEW GROWTH! ELEPHANTS R ALMOST LIKE HORTACULTURALISTS IN A UNIQUE AND AMAZING WAY, LOVE U LADIES❤️🐘🐘🐘🐘🐘❤️

  5. REPLY
    Carol says

    Wow! What a marked difference in rejuvenation of the fauna. Looks as if there was an underground sprinkler system at work…lol.

  6. REPLY
    FRANCINE FORD says

    Fascinating! Good going Golden Girls! ❤🐘❤🐘❤🐘❤🐘
    Search the difference the reintroduction of wolves into Yellowstone Natl Park has had on the eco system there. 🐘❤🐘❤

  7. REPLY
    Kelejan says

    Isn’t elephant poop 50% non-digested organic matter? And there is a lot of it all ready to rejuvenate the earth.

  8. REPLY
    Paula says

    Poder ser testigos del impacto positivo que tienen los elefantes en el rebrote luego del incendio es fascinante, maravilloso y conmovedor!
    La vida siempre se abre camino y cada criatura en ella tiene un importante rol que la humanidad, aún, debe aprender a observar, conocer y respetar!
    Maravillosas damas en un territorio bendecido y mágico! ❤

  9. REPLY
    Sallie says

    PLEASE let us know that the ITCHY SCRATCHY TREE IS STILL INTACT! Those of us involved in sanctuaries know that elephants are the contributors of continuing ground life in the bush or savanna anywhere in the world! If it wasn’t for elephants, there would be NO regrowth on many ecosystems on many continents.

    • REPLY
      Kat Blais says

      The itchy scratchy tree is close to the barn, so it is just fine.

  10. REPLY
    Rosie P says

    Fascinating and interesting. It seems a win win situation to me. The habitat nurtures the elephants and the elephants nurture the habitat. Very thought provoking!

  11. REPLY
    Meredith says

    Hi, Can you say what kinds of plants this early regrowth is? Native grasses, I assume. It is all very interesting. Thank you.

    • REPLY
      Kat Blais says

      we’re not sure. there are native grasses in that pasture, but this property is an old cattle farm, so there are also cultivated grasses there as well.

  12. REPLY
    Sallie says

    Your Darling Elephants are Fantastic “EcoSystem Poop Machines” for new growth and restoration of the land enjoyed for yummy chews and hurt by fire. It is a wonderful cycle of life, as Rosie P points out.

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