Deux Balés National Park, Burkina Faso


Despite their excitement, my little friends are quiet today.  They know know they must not make noise which would frighten the elephants.  Calmly, they get off the bus to walk to the river, hoping to catch a glimpse of their famous “elephant neighbours.”  The river is calm, not an animal on the horizon.  Then suddenly, one of the children can't hold back a half-stifled cry.  “Look!” he says to me.  Yes!  One, then two, then dozens of elephants come out of the river as if by magic and loll about.  What a show!  The children can't believe their eyes.  Their smiles say everything of their joy of discovering this extraordinary animal.  They are hypnotized by these giants.  The baby elephants are also a huge success.  In a low voice, Djénéba explains the elephants' social structure, which is not that different from our own.  Their intelligence as well.  The children are astonished.  They never would have suspected that this fascinating elephant world existed right next to their own.  It is the discovery of their lifetime........
It is time to leave now, but what an incredible day! 



Deux-Bales National Park, Burkina Faso


There are our elephant friends, majestic as always.  I find them a bit different than those in Botswana, which makes sense since West African elephants could very well be a sub-species.  One more reason to save them!  The elephant population here is estimated to be approximately 300. 


Coexistence with humans is difficult.  As is often the case in Africa and Asia, habitat destruction pushes elephants to traverse agricultural regions that were once their forests.  In a country as poor as Burkina Faso, harvest destruction causes serious problems for farmers who often see elephants as vermin capable of annihilating their meagre revenue at any moment.  They do not realize that by destroying the forest and an often unique local ecosystem, the entire ecology of the region is affected by, for example, reduced rainfall and soil erosion that can be catastrophic in the middle term.  Let's cross the river and return to the village! 






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