An entertaining scene unfolded as orphaned elephants engaged in a playful mud fight, covering themselves in red dust.
The captivating display occurred at Tsavo East National Park in Kenya, where these elephants, under the care of the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust at Ithumba, found joy in rolling around and tossing trunkfuls of red earth on themselves.
The thick layer of mud and dust serves a practical purpose, protecting the elephants’ skin from the sun and pesky insects.
Elephants have a whale of a time covering themselves in dust and turning themselves red. Source: Daily Mail
Environmental consultants Mick Baines, 63, and Maren Reichelt, 36, had the opportunity to witness this comical spectacle. Baines described the elephants as looking “almost like clowns putting on make-up.”
These baby elephants are part of a group of orphans at the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, which focuses on rehabilitating them after experiencing trauma caused by humans.
Eventually, they are released back into the wild. One of their favorite daily activities is visiting the deep mud bath enclosures, where they can play and have fun.
Rusty: The elephants get down and dirty at Tsavo East National Park in Kenya. Source: Daily MailMud bath: This baby jumbo has taken on the color of the soil in their surroundings. Source: Daily MailEnvironmental consultant Mick Baines with the orphans, who flung trunk-fulls of red earth over their massive bodies after enjoying a mud bath. Source: Daily Mail
Baines praised the project’s success in reintegrating the orphans into their natural habitat. He mentioned that the number of elephants admitted to the trust has risen due to increased ivory demand from Asia, leading to a surge in poaching incidents.
Additionally, habitat loss resulting from agricultural expansion contributes to human-elephant conflicts.
Kicking up a storm: The elephants were part of a herd of orphans being cared for at the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust at Ithumba. Source: Daily MailExhausted: A baby elephant takes a rest after the mud fight. Source: Daily MailMuddy good time: The beasts wallow in a pool of mud, leaving them covered in grey stuff. Source: Daily Mail
Baines was most surprised by witnessing ex-orphans, who had successfully transitioned back into the wild, returning to visit the enclosures.
One of them, a 12-year-old female named Nasalot, even interacted with Baines and Reichelt. Other former orphans brought their wild companions to the fences and mud baths, showcasing the positive impact of the trust’s efforts.