Tafika’s growing confidence

Tafika, being the second oldest male at the Kafue Release Facility, plays a vital role in the herd structure and is essential for teaching the younger bulls how to interact and socialize. While on the morning walks, he tends to spar with Batoka, the oldest male within the herd. Typically, Batoka would initiate social play with Tafika, but lately Tafika has been gaining confidence and beginning some of their sparring sessions. However, he tends to do so when Batoka is at a disadvantage, perhaps lying down or playing in the mud.

Tafika’s growing confidence and more successful sparring sessions with Batoka can also be seen in his change in attitude towards the younger elephants as he is forging more amicable friendships within the herd. This past month, Tafika has made an unlikely friendship, with Mulisani, the youngest elephant at the Release Facility. Tafika and Mulisani have been seen spending much time together in the boma during lunch, exchanging many affiliative behaviours. Tafika was also seen playing “tug-of-war” with a stick with Mosi on two separate occasions before the morning walk.

As the rains have started to fill up the pools within the boma again, many of the elephants enjoy mud bathing and swimming during lunch time. Tafika especially enjoys getting in the water and has been seen bathing, swimming, and wrestling with Rufunsa and Mosi, exchanging many playful and friendly behaviours. Tafika’s change in demeanour is a good indicator that he is maturing into a respectable bull and will be a great example for the younger elephants within the herd.

We look forward to sharing more stories about Tafika’s exploits with you in the year ahead! If you’re interested in learning more about this iconic species or the other animals that we work hard to protect please visit our website.


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