Did you know that Elephants can actually decide to have an abortion? My Botanical and Bird watching tour in #Nyericounty was full of surprises..
Its an early morning at Le pristine and this time Mt.Kenya spreads its glory beautifully. It’s a bird watching day and my guides are soo excited, am not a keen birder but I can spot quite a few birds myself, but rarely are they those that excite a keen birder lol.
I have a lot of learning to do today and mid you no major movements or talking everything is done softly quietly not to scare birds away. Our walk took us through Coffee plantations, Dams and Chania river all the way to the bridge of Gods, The Locals call it the bridge of God because the river passes through under a rock hence no need for a Man made bridge. All we could see is how breathtaking the landscape was and I wished if that was my land I would capitalize on it to the maximum;
“K?r?a kw? ngú g?tir? nyama” that was Mr.King’oris response we all laughed [it basically means you cant have it all]
During our walk I learn that Birds are attracted to Native or indigenous plants and trees according to birds this are like Moms home cooking lol! They’re the tried-and-true foods that keep the birds coming back. We spotted quite a number of birds during our 3hr walk.
Perhaps worth Mentioning is the rare Hindes babbler which is endemic to the Mt. Kenya Region and is listed as threatened due to habitat loss. you will spot them at Le pristine and the surroundings.
After Birdwatching we went Forest Bathing in Gathiuru Forest, Mt.Kenya. Now this was quite interesting because I learnt a lot about Trees, shrubs in relation to man, animal and health etc. There were quite alot of interesting facts about this botanical journey but two of them stood out;
1] Leleshwa; was used by Maasai Morans and Kikuyu Men as a deodorant
I also learnt a lot about medicine and plants from treating Tooth ache, stomach aches, deworming, insects repel ants, Natural Tissue papers etc
Fact number two was quite shocking that Elephants can predict a long drought ahead and in some rare cases they do abort their babies by eating the bark of of the red Seringa tree / Burkea Africana. Of course I went on a personal search about this and discovered that the survival rate of calves during long drought is 2%.. Now in his Elephant watch in Tsavo National Park ecologist H. [Holly] T. Dublin was puzzled one day when the elephant on his research wandered much farther afield than usual, not feeding until she came upon a small tree belonging to a species related to borage that she had never been seen by Dublin to include in her diet before. Watched by Dublin, the elephant almost entirely devoured the tree, until only its stump remained…Four days later, she gave birth to a healthy calf, and investigations by Dublin revealed that tea made from the leaves and bark of this particular species of tree seemed to induce uterine contractions…How Interesting Right?
About The Tree; Burkea africana is a deciduous, medium-sized, spreading, flat-topped tree up to 8 m high. Leaves are pinnately compound, silvery-pubescent. Leaflets are oval and silvery when they are young and marked with brown spots. Flowers are creamy white, fragrant and in pendulous racemes of up to 300 mm in length. The bark is toxic, rich in alkaloids and tannins and used for tanning leather. Burkea africana, like any other tree, is used for fuel wood, but is not very popular. However, the wood is important for making mortars. The leaves are the only food resource of two kinds of edible caterpillars which are harvested in thousands during the rainy season, mainly January and February. The bark is used as dye for Combretum zeyheri roots which are woven into baskets. The roots are used to treat stomach pain and tooth ache. For both treatments, the outer skin of the roots is scraped away, the roots are cut into pieces of about 50 mm long and are boiled for 5 to 10 min.
Now Imagine after a 3-4hrs walk around the forest learning about trees, insects and then you land into this?
After lunch by the water falls we headed back but not wthout a few drops from Mt.Kenya Afternoon rain.
If you would wish to join Le-Pristine team for birding every Saturday Morning book with them on friday and be there by 06:00hrs in the morning its only a thousand Kenya shillings and it comes with water and lunch box..
This post I am sure it will attract a lot of debate and ideas and to be honest I hope it does coz Elephants are interesting creatures….it would be great to have more facts about Them inducing labour.
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