Meet Morgan, an adventurous elephant that made a remarkable journey to Somalia – making it the first elephant to be seen in Somalia in 20 years.
Conservationists say the elephant traveled hundreds of kilometres on foot in three weeks and then crossed into Somalia from Tana River in the northern part of Kenya’s coastal region.
On crossing into Somalia briefly, the 30-year-old Morgan sat down to rest.
The Journey started from Tana River. Morgan had walked slowly and with heavy steps, typically because of exhaustion or harsh conditions and covered 20 kilometres (12 miles) the first night. It then hid in thick forest the next day probably for security purpose as it continued its journey.
It furthered its trek under cover of deep-rooted grasses and mighty tress which exuded darkness and maintained this pattern for the next 18 days.
Douglas-Hamilton of Save the Elephants, a conservation organisation, said the elephant adopted extreme form of survival strategy to travel one of the most dangerous places for elephants in their African range.
He obviously had something in his mind about where he’s going.
The conservationists from Save the Elephant said they kept continuous record of the trek using a tracking collar which they had fitted the male bull in December.
Douglas-Hamilton’s conservation organisation has reportedly put tracking collars on hundreds of African elephants. Following tracks of the elephant, they realized that in the mid-February, the elephant started an unexpected trek northwards to Somalia, getting very close to the border.
According to the organization, the trip having ended successfully suggests that the Kenya-Somalia border area is becoming safer and less life-threatening.
It also suggests that if southern Somalia would bring back security into its territory, exiled elephants might also get back to the region.
The elephant’s trip has also put a smile in the faces of the conservationists who opined the journey shows the elephant recalled the olden routes following decades of their absence in Somalia due to conflict. Many believe the elephants had avoided the country due to the ear-rending sound of guns and grenade during the war.
The exceptional feat by the outstanding elephant was also commended by Kenya Wildlife Service Director Generak Kitili Mbathi who said:
When stories like Morgan’s are being told, we are assured that we have been successful in maintaining age old elephant corridors in spite of critical threats such as armed conflict and insecurity.
The burn to be led by President Kenyatta is a testament to a zero tolerance approach to poaching and to ensuring that Kenya’s wildlife remains secure so that current and future generations can appreciate the true value that their natural heritage provides and play a more concerted role in conserving such iconic giants like Morgan.
The elephant is being lauded for surviving the seemingly evil forest as stories of elephant poaching especially for their ivories have been making headlines for years in Africa.
However, Kenya has seen recent decreases with the number of elephants poached in 2015 falling to 93 from 164 the previous year.