Category Archives: Forest Elephants

Help us by buying puzzles with Forest Elephants

Puzzles with Forest Elephants Radioservis and The Revealed produced puzzles with Forest Elephants from Dzanga Sangha. Profit is intended for equipment of ecoguards working in Dja Raserve in Cameroon. You can buy the puzzles in our e-shop.

Elephants Come Here for Safety…

Miroslav Bobek et al.
Interview with Andrea Turkalo. Part III

There are always several BaAka, local Pygmies, at Andrea Turkalo’s camp who work for her as guides and scouts. The camp is also regularly visited by Bantus armed with automatic rifles who guard the reserve. Although the Dzanga clearing looks like paradise on Earth, it is not completely safe for wild animals. However, the situation is much worse elsewhere.

Forest Elephant in Dzanga Baï. Author: Miroslav Bobek

Before zoologists discovered Dzanga Bai, did Europeans know about it?
Probably yes, because this place was colonised by many years by the French. Before independence, this area was also exploited for ivory and other forest products, like rubber and copal, which is used in making perfumes. The French exported hundreds of tons of ivory out of here from the end of the last century until the 1960s. If you know the book Heart of Darkness by Joseph Konrad, he describes the situation when the Belgians and the French had a concession system and basically mandated that pepople collect ivory and other forest products. If they did not collect it, they were whipped.

But elephants, to say nothing about other animals, continue to be killed here…
There are different levels of poaching in this part of the world. There is game poaching for local consumption. People go out and set snares and catch antelopes, go home and they go home in the evening and eat the animal. That’s sustainable. That’s like what the BaAka do with the net hunting. They kill an animal, divide it up and eat it. That can go on for a long time without affecting the total population because what they are taking and what is reproducing is at the same level. Elephant poaching is a whole different situation because it is done by people who have the means to buy big guns and send people out with munition to kill animals.

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Marriage for Two Days

Miroslav Bobek et  al.
Interview with Andrea Turkalo. Part II

Unequal I with Unequal VI. Author: Miroslav Bobek
Dzanga Bai appears to be from a different time and world. Against the backdrop of the forest, you can see dozens of elephants: females, their offspring of various age, as well as a long-tusked males here and there. Together with them scores of forest buffaloes and antelopes… This remote place in Central African Republic is where American zoologist Andrea Turkalo has been conducting her research for nearly twenty years.

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Living among Elephants

Miroslav Bobek et al., 2 July 2009
Interview with Adrea Turkalo. Part I

Andrea Turkalo, author: Khalil BaalbakiAndrea Turkalo has lived in a small forest camp in the southwest of the Central African Republic. Every morning she walks to a shelter hidden at the edge of a unique “forest elephant clearing”. Supported by the Wildlife Conservation Society and the US government, she conducts research into the life of forest elephants and tries to contribute to their protection.

Who discovered this “elephant clearing” and when?
This clearing is called Dzanga and and it has always been known for the wildlife. I have a German friend who first came here in the 1960s and he filmed here. Now he is in his 70s but he comes back periodically to film. He came here when there was no road to Bayanga, he walked all the way with his equipment. He walked all through this area and filmed. Before he came in the 1960s, the areas was, of course, known to the Bayaka, Pygmies. When you talk to them about this area, even the older ones, they remember as very small children walking to this area and hunting. Now, it is a national park, so hunting is not allowed but they have always known this area. There are also other clearings in this area but none of them are alike Dzanga where you can see 40-100 elephants a day.

Elephant family (unknown) and forest buffalo, author: Autor: Miroslav Bobek

Why do so many of them come to the clearing?
They come for minerals. They dig big holes in the dry season and now you see them pumping through water and that’s to get down below to the minerals. These minerals are probably helping them digest the food they are eating. A lot of the food they get in the forest is very poor quality. The best quality food they get is fruit but it is very seasonal, that only found during a certain period of the year. So when they cannot get fruit, they are eating leaves and bark and whatever they can get, and it probably has a lot of poisons in it. So they come here to eat the soil and it is sort of medication because it lessens the toxicity of the food that they are eating.

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Panorama of Dzanga Bai

The Revealed, 11 May 2009

When we offered you the photogallery of forest elephants two weeks ago, we did not expect how they attract you. After our arrival from Africa, we launch forth the elephants once again – this time in global panoramatic view in the clearing.

By the way, do you know how many of elephants are there? 🙂 Try to count them! First three of you, who count them correctly and send us the answer on email [email protected] until 18 May, get a little present.

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.rozhlas.cz/odhaleni/default/panorama.swf" width="480" height="360"/]

You can look around the clearing by holding left mouse button and moving left and right. For zooming use cursor keys up and down.

Watching Forest Elephants with Andrea Turkalo

Dzanga Baï, Central African Republic

Miroslav Bobek, 24 April 2009

Andrea Turkalo has been living in a small camp at the Dzanga Baï clearing in the midst of a tropical rainforest in the south-west of the Central African Republic. It is a thirty-minute walk from her camp to the clearing.  “I have walked 33 thousand kilometres along this path,” says Andrea who left the comfort of the East Coast of the USA for her great passion – forest elephants.

Dzanga Baï, Central African Republic

The Dzanga Baï clearing is absolutely unique. Some say it is the only place in the world where you are always sure to see Forest Elephants. In any case, it is indisputably the absolutely best place in the world to watch them. Elephants, Forest Buffaloes, and Bongo antelopes come to the clearing regularly to drink from springs that contain salt and other minerals.

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