Elephant friendly wells!!

Drought again.. Sadly..  Times are tough again up in the Milgis… No rain to really speak of now,  since May/June last year and its really dry… One of our main concerns are just to make sure no elephants or other wild life get stuck in the wells dug by the people for their own use and for their livestock…  Our other concern is to make sure there is no conflict over water, between the wildlife and the people.. Times are hard and it does not help if people are upset if elephants or other wild life break their wells!!…

Just to explain how it works… this country is criss-crossed with Luggas.. Seasonal rivers.. Some of them you jump over, some like the Milgis is a km wide!..

A lugga is a seasonal river .. This country is criss-crossed by luggas, and here is the Mighty Milgis lugga maybe the biggest lugga in kenya dividing Lenkiyou(Matthews range) and the Ndoto mountains!

Huge sandy river beds.. this is the Barsaloi..

The Milgis Lugga in FULL FLOOD!

Luxury for the wild life when the luggas are full of water!

the lugga about half full of water..

The lugga with no water on the surface but underneath in the sand it is plenty of water..

Completely dry.. and water table going too far down for the elephants to dig for water..


When the water starts disapearing under the sand , the Elephants dig for water.. at first they just push their trunk in and pull the sand out till they get to water,.. then the slowly, slowly draw the lovely clean water out of their hole, and a drinking session can take hours.. …

a little hole made by an elephant to drink..

The beauty is all the other animals, (see the civet tracks),  come and make use of the little hole that was started by the elephant,  and slowly it gets bigger and bigger

each animal comes down and digs it a little deeper and the hole widens..

the elephant comes back and has another go at his hole, and it gets bigger and  deeper..

But then finally the water table has gone too deep for the elephant to carry on and he will start looking for water else where..  And we want to avoid the conflict with the people who have really worked hard to dig a well for them selves and their livestock..

This guy is just starting a new well for himself..

the start of a well..

its really hot work!

one bucket of sand at a time!.. Although the sand looks wet they have a long way to go till they get good water!

heres a traditional well that they use to collect water for their homes and to water their livestock.. although    each family digs their well, in a way you don’t own it exactly.. The wells are a work of art and a huge amount of work!!… Of course in true Samburu fashion every one is welcome to water any where, any time.. I am always so in awe how they also share with the wildlife who can be rather destructive sometimes!!

ON SAFARI!… here we’ve asked the owner if we can have some water from his well..

and hes even offering the camels some water!..

a passer by needs some water as well..

Now the tables have turned, heres a small well that the owner has tried to protect… The water table has gone down too far and the Elephants cant dig for them selves anymore so they rely on the wells that are dug..  this below is a perfect example and the well was not destroyed.. but imagine if a big herd needs water.. Then it becomes a bit chaotic..

. in this case the Elephant enjoyed a drink and did not do any damage..

the owner of this well was not so lucky the elephants destroyed the well completely.. Quite frustrating when you’ve walked a long way down to the lugga to water your livestock and to have to dig the whole thing again.. AND you are already tired because of the drought!!

This person tried to put sticks to stop the elephants breaking the sides ..

Elephant damage to the well but it has been salvaged and they still can use it..

This below is what we are trying to avoid.. Elephants drinking out of deep wells and sometimes the end result is the last picture.. not a nice scene..


too much risk trying to get just a simple drink .. the big eleys can reach but not the smaller ones..

this young elephant is trying his best to reach the water.. its just too dangerous..

this little one just slipped in .. poor little thing..

So now the water table is low and difficult for the elephants to get to water, the Milgis has got many people from the communities digging wells for the wildlife.. Its a win, win situation.. They get employment , and the elephants don’t break their livestock wells!!

A really big well ready for theelephants to drink and bathe

See the size of this well compared to the vehicle!

A finished eley friendly water hole..

a few pictures of the elephants enjoying their wells we’ve dug for them!

one guy right inside the well..

my turn now

thank you..

milling around enjoying..

after…  showing every one safe having had a good drink and a bath!

a small family coming out in the morning for a drink at one of our wells!

out in the middle of the lugga..

a thirsty group heading into the wells

love this little brave eley all on his own going to drink!..

Remember its only about 3 years now that the elephants are coming out in the day!!

a big group of Elephants using one of our wells early evening ..

If any kind person would like to help us keep this programme going , we would be so happy for funding to help keep our elephants safe .. THANK YOU…


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