While returning with the new anti poaching brigade from a successful community sensitisation operation in part of the Gourma we found fresh elephant spoor.
The Malian desert elephant has the longest annual migration route of any other elephant currently, as most elephants have had their ranges curtailed - not so here in Mali. The desert elephant here crosses the border into Burkina as part of its route - through some of the most hostile territory in the world and it is this brigade that stands between this population and extinction.
To make matters more exciting there were babies, juveniles, females and males together - a good family unit. We estimated between twelve and fifteen individuals based on their tracks.
The freshness of the dung, the chewed branches and fresh tracks suggested the elephants had passed this position not more than six hours before. And as they were eating and not in a hurry they are feeling unmolested.
A very very good omen for this population of elephants caught up in this vicious war.
And ofcourse a happy Valentine to all our special supporters.