A Female Elephant Gave African Wildlife Researchers A Huge Surprise

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A Lover Of Nature

Wildlife expert, Charles Foley, is the director of the Tarangire Elephant Project at the reservation and has loved learning about his favorite animals, the elephant, for many years. Over recent decades he has dedicated his time to leading explorations and research projects which tracked numerous herds of elephants in the park. With an infinite amount of information to learn about elephants, Charles and his team were determined, and dedicated to learning as much as they could about the beautiful creature.

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Family Love

Eloise is a 57-year-old elephant who has experienced a lot during her time in Africa. She eventually became a leader since younger animals took cues from her, and Charles and his team ensured Eloise and the rest of her species were kept safe. She had, in fact, been known to them since she was young, which resulted in Charles developing a special bond with her in particular. They had become so close that Charles even considered Eloise to be a member of the family – much like many would feel about a pet dog.

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A Sight To See

Tarangire National Park is found in the northeast corner of Tanzania and is the country’s sixth biggest national park. In Tarangire National Park a wide variety of African species can be found drinking, bathing, and relaxing at the Tarangire River, which runs through the park. Visitors traveling to the National Park will be awestruck at their witnessing of several exotic species including elephants, zebras, impalas, and over 500 bird species across the 1,000 square feet of land that the park encompasses.

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An Animal Spectacle

While visitors can expect to see large groups of buffalo, gazelle, and zebras during the dry season, there are plenty of predators found in the wild also. Alongside these docile animals are the likes of lions, cheetahs, and wild dogs that are never shy when it comes to stalking their prey in front of park visitors. In fact, it is quite common to watch a pride of lions lazing around in the vast savannah while safari vehicles circulate around them.

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Big Animals, Big Danger

Since Charles had a serious motive in his mind, he was going to ensure he did everything possible to ensure it worked. However, this was no easy task since it is believed that there are less than 500,000 elephants left in the African wilderness. Compared to other species, this figure makes them far less numerous than other animals in the wild. Meanwhile, Charles’ heart and soul were dedicated to elephant conservation efforts and he would do all in his power to protect them from poachers and hunters.

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Enough Is Enough

Elephants have continued to be a target for many poachers since their ivory tusks are highly valued, which makes them marks for the black market. While this is, of course, an illegal practice, it has remained to be a common problem in many national parks. Charles, meanwhile, has been giving speeches around the world in hope to put an end to this. Charles felt the reason for elephants dying out was because of us humans, and he thought enough was enough.

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Developing A Bond

Since elephants are so big and travel in herds, they are easy to spot in the wild. The thousands of elephants that lived in the park would usually be seen congregating in their herds along the river during the wet season. Since they are docile creatures, Charles grew fond of the animal and developed a great respect for them at the same time. He had spent many years tracking different elephants and their families, eventually becoming very close with one in particular.

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Keeping Track Of Eloise

Although Eloise was one of the oldest elephants in the park, she was very spritely for her age and Charles loved to examine her. With a unique aura about her, Charles was fascinated by Eloise. During the elephants’ migration that season, Charles kept track of Eloise to monitor her progress, keeping his distance at all times – not just for security reasons, but also to respect the elephants’ natural migration. Charles need not have worried. As long as he didn’t pose any potential threat, the elephants wouldn’t be aggressive.

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Star On The Rise

At Tarangire National Park, Eloise had somehow become a little something like a celebrity in her own right. Charles could spot her easily in any herd, which made her a thrilling attraction for tourists too, even if they might not otherwise be able to tell the difference between several matriarchal elephants. Other conservationists too noticed the aura that Eloise had about her, drawing humans and elephants alike into her orbit to track her daily life.

Witnessing Something Remarkable

While a team of researchers was studying animals in Tarangire National Park in Tanzania, they witnessed something truly spectacular. This was all thanks to an older female elephant named Eloise. Despite being one of the most well-loved and most often observed elephants in the park, Eloise managed to stun researchers with what she did. The story of Eloise is truly remarkable since it was something that is rarely witnessed in the wild. In fact, the story of Eloise the elephant proves that we never know what Mother Nature has planned for us.

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Born Survivor

Charles loves elephants because of their ability to convey a variety of emotions. Not only are these 14,000-pound creatures unique in appearance, they have special personalities. Also, with such a rich diet full of fruit, nuts, and leaves, elephants live pretty healthy lives and can reach impressively old age. Eloise is a fine example, and she is well on course to live up to 70 years of age. However, there was no denying that the dry season would be tough for her. Nevertheless, Charles had faith in her.

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Change In Behavior

Although Eloise was renowned for her vibrant personality, Charles noticed something strange. She had been a lot slower. Either her age was catching up with her, or the dry heat was really taking its toll on Eloise. However, Charles was swerving towards the latter reason, because the other elephants seemed to be fine in comparison. After leading the herd for so long, Eloise began to fall by the wayside. Not only that, but Eloise also had mood swings. One thing was for sure, the other elephants seemed to keep a caring eye on her.

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Not Her First Rodeo

In Eloise’s 57 years on Earth, she had survived many dry seasons, even leading the migration most years. It seemed peculiar to those who were familiar with her that she seemed to suddenly be so affected by the heat. It’s not that the dry season is the most comfortable time to travel out in the open, especially for those who are not well versed in surviving such conditions, but Eloise should not have seemed to be floundering.

The Glass Elephant

If it seems like Eloise’s gravitas made her an unusual leader of an elephant herd, you might be surprised to learn then that elephants are often lead by the matriarchs. In fact, most of the herd happened to be female, so it made Eloise even more natural of a fit as the herd’s leader, given that she was the oldest of the group. Her age earned her her status, which is a common phenomenon among elephants.

Eloise’s End?

Perplexed by what was happening, Charles was determined to get to the bottom of this radical and unusual change in behavior. And after a few days, things were still the same. The other conservationists noticed her swing in behavior and feared the worst for her. As each day passed, Charles became more and more worried for Eloise and was prepared to watch her die. With all the hunters in this part of the world, Charles made sure that no one touched this particular region.

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Staying At Trunk’s Length

As Eloise’s behavior continued to be erratic, Charles could see that the other elephants in the herd had given up on following her astheir leader as the dry season wore on. They might not have been taking cues from Eloise as their leader, but at the same time, there always seemed to be at least one other elephant keeping a close watch on her, especially when she would wander off on her own. He just couldn’t figure out what had changed.

Why Was She Different?

Charles and his team tried to work out the cause of Eloise’s rapid decline. They assumed maybe she was infected with a virus or some form of illness, which if so, could spark danger for the rest of the elephants. However, Eloise didn’t show too many signs of illness. She still had an appetite and hadn’t lost any weight. Charles concluded that her health wasn’t at risk. However, he did suspect that the rest of the herd were changing in behavior too.

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Where Did They Go?

Although Eloise seemed healthy, the experts recommended that Charles kept a close look on her to get to the bottom of her change in behavior. He wanted to find the correlation between her personality shift, the dry weather, and why the herd was so protective over her. However, it wouldn’t take long before the herd disappeared altogether. How did the group of elephants just disappear all of a sudden? Charles was hellbent on learning why they left the area and wanted to find them again.

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Gone Forever?

Charles’s first port of call was to inspect the usual spots that the herd ate and slept at before they left. After finding no substantial information and hearing no alerts about their whereabouts on his radio, Charles was getting nervous. No one had seen Eloise and the others and it got to a point where Charles was ready to give up. Ultimately, he packed his bags and went home, hoping that the next day would bring some more fortune.

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They Found Her!

When Charles and the other experts regrouped, they brainstormed their next step. Despite coming up with some ideas, they were simply worried about Eloise’s wellbeing. Weeks passed and nothing was coming of this intense search. Again, when he asked his local companions if they had any intel, he received nothing new. However, that all changed one day, when someone sent Charles a radio message, informing him that they had spotted Eloise! Needless to say, Charles was absolutely thrilled by the news.

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Reunited

Charles learned that the messenger had actually stumbled across the elephant family. The entire group was elated by the news and it wouldn’t take long before Charles was able to schedule a ride to the site that they had been found at. So Charles packed his bags again and prepared to set off. He was absolutely delighted that he would be able to see Eloise once again after all this time searching. He wondered how the herd ended up where they did and why.

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Sight Unseen

Charles also wondered what his colleague had done in order to find her when he had been searching so hard for her unsuccessfully for so long. He couldn’t help but wonder if perhaps he hadn’t been as scrupulous as he could have been, and was worried that maybe he didn’t understand the herd as well as he thought. As it turned out, the sighting had occurred by chance, but Charles was elated just the same and was thrilled that he would see her again.

Spreading The Good Cheer

Without hesitation, Charles announced the good news to the rest of his coworkers, who had been following the case with the same curiosity. The sense of excitement that permeated throughout their workstation couldn’t be contained. The loss of an entire herd of elephants was not only a rare occurrence, for conservationists, it was the exact thing they were working to prevent. They couldn’t wait a moment longer to see the herd again and see why the elephants had disappeared for so long.

Checking For Truth

With help from the colleague who found the missing elephant, Charles began navigating to where she had last been seen, which is where he found a shocking surprise. It seemed unfathomable that the elephants could have disappeared out of thin air the way they had, and then so suddenly reappeared. To those who aren’t in the know, it might not seem so bizarre to lose track of a wild animal, but for conservationists who were tracking their every move, it was not normal. Several minutes away by car, Charles and Eloise would be reunited under incredible circumstances.

Off To The Wilderness

Charles had brought plenty of supplies with him, just in case there was anything wrong, but also so he could take more accurate observations of the reunification. He wondered what had caused Eloise and her herd to retreat into in a part of the conservation park that was so remote from where they usually roamed. The dusty road stretched before him as he rode, sending orange clouds from out beneath his tires. The prospect of seeing Eloise again was exhilarating.

And It Feels So Good

As he spotted Eloise up ahead in the clearing, Charles’ heart skipped a beat. He could see they had not found just a solitary, elderly elephant, but her entire family too. Though he didn’t notice it at first, there was a very good reason Eloise had hidden herself away. For all of the worries about lions having preyed upon the herd or that she had fallen ill, it turned out that the symptoms Charles hadn’t originally investigated had been right all along.

Dedicated To His Job

Their research included discovering elephants’ mating patterns, eating habits, and sleeping schedules. As a lover of elephants, Charles completely immersed himself in his research work and enjoyed every moment of it. His days were never the name, and that is what Charles enjoyed most. In fact, this is what Charles found the most exciting because he never knew what to expect when he woke up in the morning. Meanwhile, Charles was focused on ensuring elephants were off of the endangered species list and their population kept growing.

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Friends Of All Sorts

It wasn’t just Eloise that Charles had formed a bond with. Throughout his long career working in the park with the animals, he had developed close relationships with many of the elephants that lived within the vast grounds of the park. As much as he loved the others, he still couldn’t help but feel that Eloise was his favorite out of all of the elephants. There was something special about her demeanor that was absolutely magnetic.

Looking For Greener Pasture

African elephants’ lives are characterized by the migration they must face during the dry seasons. When the climate is wet and food and water are plentiful, the herds would keep to one general area that was lush with vegetation. During the dry season, however, elephants would sometimes stray 75 miles or more outside of their usual territory in order to find themselves food or water. Eloise, as one of the herds’ matriarchs, often led her herd’s migration.

Getting Down On Bunny Chow

Elephants might be large, majestic creatures, but they make much better neighbors than a creature like a lion, being that they are naturally herbivores. Smaller mammals have nothing to fear when elephants come wandering into their neighborhoods, as they aren’t on the hunt for prey. One can often find smaller herbivorous mammals like monkeys and impala living right alongside herds of the comparatively massive elephants. Despite their size, the smaller mammals aren’t afraid of the gentle giants.

Extending The Clan

Standing triumphantly among her herd, Charles saw that Eloise had indeed been pregnant, despite the fact that she was already 57 years old! With this birth, Eloise has become the oldest elephant mother ever recorded by humans. Though the researchers had noticed Eloise’s odd behavior, it made much more sense upon discovering that she had indeed been expecting a new little calf. It seemed the herd had banded together to protect her while she was at her most vulnerable. But there was still more…

Miracle Of Miracles

Not only was it a miracle that Eloise had given birth at her age, she had given birth to twins! While any birth would have been remarkable, twins are particularly rare among wild elephants. Charles and his colleague were incredulous. The two little babies huddled below their mother, sticking to her shadow like glue. All of the symptoms congealed in Charles’ mind, but he was worried about the health of the baby elephants, who were looking thin in his estimation.

The Threat At Bay

Poachers are often a threat to African wildlife, especially elephants, because of their highly prized tusks. At Tarangire National Park, however, any sort of hunting was strictly forbidden, which helped to give the conservationists like Charles Foley some peace of mind. Poachers on the other hand often try to operate under the cover of darkness. But luckily for the conservationists and the animals, this park happened to be well protected. It was one of the few things Charles didn’t worry about as much.

Bring ‘Em On Down

The park itself was a popular place for tourists to visit. Those who had trekked all the way to Tanzania couldn’t get enough of the large herds of wild animals roaming around their habitats in plain view. For those who weren’t used to seeing such animals in the wild, it was almost like being in a movie, The elephants especially were a hit with the crowds, as they were just as fun to watch even for the casual observer.

Don’t Get On My Bad Side

Despite the fact that elephants are not predators, they definitely are a creature that you wouldn’t want to anger. Their sheer size, of course, makes them dangerous, but even their trunk can dole out a fearsome swat that can knock you off of your feet. There’s also the matter of elephant tusks, which are an important aspect of their self-defense. Get an elephant worked up enough, and you’ll certainly want to make sure you are far out of their range.

Garden Of Plenty

Charles and his fellow conservationists wouldn’t have to worry for very long. The park was soon saturated with abundant rains, causing the forest to unfurl its leaves, which gave both mother and babies plenty of nutrition to help them get strong. From the initial worry to the brilliant surprise, Charles couldn’t have been happier to see his favorite elephant not only thriving, but thriving with her two miracle calves by her side. Finally, all of Charles’ worry had lifted.

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