Yesterday, Mac's trek southward brought him to the central Klaserie and Timbavati Private Nature Reserves, an area that we know from our study to be part of the home range of some of the breeding herds he will associate with while in musth. His behaviour appears to have changed accordingly. Now, although he is still moving steadily southward, he deviates from his path to inspect places where there is evidence of other elephants, such as plants that have been fed on, paths that intersect his and water holes. He is most probably scanning for cows that may be coming into oestrous in the near future and bulls that are potential competitors.
We are now at the end of the southern summer, the savannah's wet season, but the daily temperature still peaks in the low to mid 30's. Recent late rains (43mm over the past week) have provided some relief and rejuvenated many of the small pans that dot the landscape, but large-bodied animals, such as elephants still have to cope with heat stress and almost daily we are see Mac take mud baths.
After tomorrow we will be scaling back on our observations of Mac, so that we can catch up with the other elephants we are tracking, but will still be following him once or twice a week.