Moving On

We think the elephants here have moved west to Banzena, where there is a lake that holds water year-round. Elephants are known to congregate there in May, the driest month of the year, and I have high hopes of photographing them there. Banzena is two hours west of Inadjatafane. We will start our move in the morning. To be more specific on our location, Banzena (there is no town) is about 12 hours northeast of Bamako and a couple of hours north of Douentza. The Gourma region, range of the desert elephants and the general location of all of my work in Mali, is defined as the area south of the bend in the Niger River between Mopti and Gao. If the elephants are indeed moving to Banzena, they should continue to arrive during our time there and we could end up setting camp for a couple of weeks. That will be ideal, allowing me to work one area in more depth, setting up a remote camera and having more opportunity to document unique moments of elephant behavior. We find out soon enough. Today I bought a turban from a small Toureg market where the nomads gather on Saturday. In addition to protecting me from blowing sands, Elmehdi said I will be camouflaged like the locals and the elephants should be more accepting of me. There is also the chance he just wanted to see me in a purple head wrap. I will write again from Banzena, hopefully with good news, though it may be several days.View new photography at www.carltonward.com