Umani Springs is in a forest. Very different than most of Tsavo which was very dry and open. The environment is much kinder so the elephants who are compromised in some way are brought here when they are ready to leave the nursery.
We were feeding them little pods from an acacia tree. They are a coveted treat obviously. This is in the evening when they have returned to the stockades.
Lots of opportunities to photograph elephant eyes.
Elephants are fond of bark and learn to strip the bark off trees and branches. It was fascinating to watch them do this. Seems impossible with that truck and their teeth but they seem to have mastered it already.
What it looks like to stand amongst the elephants. Hard not to want to stay with them for hours and hours.
Another important skill to learn... how to scratch those hard to reach spots.
This 'milk' is given to the orphans for longer than they might get if still with their mothers. Besides the fact that they still love it, it contains much needed supplements they may have missed from being deprived of their mother's milk.
Time to head back out to the bush.
Walking, eating, playing is pretty much the elephants spend their days.
This little guy was pretty special.
Sure doesn't take long for them to learn how to take advantage of objects good for scratching.
Evening ritual.... come back to the stockades, have some milk, strip bark, steal food from your neighbors and settle in for the night.
This one lost its tail to a predator before the rescue. Luck was definitely with this elephant that the tail was all that was lost.
Their mud bath is a short walk from the lodge. When we arrived these beautiful water lilies were lying peacefully in the water.
And after the elephants were finished.
As they emerge from the forest, they start running to get to their milk.
Now that milk is done, time to play in the dirt and mud.
I loved the copper color of this dirt!
And back into the forest they go.
Never mind the location, but we found this walking stick insect. They are so cool!
A few photos of the lodge, cabins.. whatever they are called. Definitely shows what a lush place this is.
Dick Berry welcoming the elephants returning to the stockades. He organizes this tour with his company, Capture Africa Tours. It's a unique and wonderful experience.
Here's the boys posing and being silly.
Can't say enough about the keepers. These guys are with the elephants 24/7. They rotate duties and do get days off every few weeks. But their dedication is unsurpassed.