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Monday, 2 January 2012

It's a Girl

Abu Camp, located in Botswana’s pristine Okavango Delta, is proud to announce that Shireni, one of the Camp’s leading elephants, gave birth to her third surviving calf, a healthy female, at 22:05 on the 17th December. Measuring approximately 90cm at the shoulder and weighing about 110kg, the new-born stood on her own feet, wobbling, within 20 minutes. The elephant handlers have named her Warona, the SeTswana name meaning ‘For Us’.

Reaching up to her mother, Warona suckled properly for the first time at 07.00 the next morning, 10 hours after the birth, and now takes short naps of 5-10 minutes. Closely watched over by her doting big brother, Abu Junior, the new-born calf is already showing signs of playfulness. Both Warona and Shireni are doing well, along with the other elephants that form the Abu herd. This new member brings the number of the Abu herd to seven elephants.

Shireni was brought to Abu Camp as part of the original ‘Brat Pack Girls’ of young elephants saved from a culling operation in the ‘Sirheni’ area of Kruger National Park. The father is believed to be a wild bull or Mthondo, one of several elephants successfully reintroduced from the Abu herd into the elephant paradise of the Okavango Delta. Earlier this year, the Camp released Gika and her eight-year-old calf Naya together; they are adapting well to their natural home, roaming and mingling with wild elephants and another previously released elephant, Nandipa, who now has two calves of her own. A total of nine elephants have been released from the Abu herd, under the full support of the Botswana Department of Wildlife and National Parks.

Abu Camp takes its name from the Arabic word meaning ‘all things to do with elephants’. The birth of Warona ends off a thrilling 2011, which saw the opening of the newly refurbished camp, together with exciting new initiatives within Abu Camp’s elephant programme. The elephant experience is being supervised by San Diego Zoo Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, Dr. Mike Chase, together with the support of Wild Horizons, a company with a strong history in high quality elephant interaction activities.

The elephant programme is complemented by the reputation of Wilderness Safaris, Africa’s leading ecotourism operator that now manages the camp through its brand, the Wilderness Collection. The cornerstone of this new initiative involves Elephants Without Borders establishing a field research station in the Abu Concession. This happy moment overlaps with an ambitious new programme which is devoted to the highest standards in elephant welfare, scientific research and meaningful guest experiences.

Warona will provide hours of fascination and enjoyment to visitors of Abu Camp, allowing them the rare opportunity to interact with a family group of elephants in one of Africa’s best wilderness areas: the Okavango Delta.

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