At the foot of Mt Elgon in Bungoma county lies quiet caves that were once used by Sabaot Land Defence Force, a militia group that terrorised residents before the government intervened. With time, the caverns have slowly been turned into maternity units used by elephants that wander around the national park so freely.
The rocky grottos located deep in the forest have unique minerals that nourish lactating elephants and their young ones as reported by NTV. Once they give birth, a mother elephant roams within the vicinity watching over her calf until it grows enough to walk around on its own.
“We have a species of elephants that is usually smaller than the usual ones we know. They developed this habit years ago and whenever any of them is pregnant, they come here to give birth and take care of the calf here,” said Bungoma Tourisn CEC Renson Wanyonyi. So famous is the spot that vegetation along the route to the “maternity units” has been depleted. The jumbos are mostly attracted to the huge grottos because of the salty rocks that contain minerals for lactating elephants.
The animals come from as far as neighbouring Uganda to give birth in the caverns. However, despite the area being an haven for lactating elephants, human activity in the forest has become a major threat to the elephants that use the caves.