Its not every day that you have anything named after you, least of all an elephant. But that is exactly what has happened at Mfuwe Lodge in the South Luangwa National Park in Zambia. Now I am not sure whether to be flattered or slightly offended. Does this mean that I am large, leathery, wrinkly and have a rather sizeable feet – and not to mention ears? Perhaps. But forgetting about any possible resemblances with this supersized grey mammal, I have to say that it is rather nice to know that I have a namesake is ambling around the African savannah, eating its own body weight in food each day, wallowing in mud and squirting people with its personal nasal hose.
Mfuwe Lodge welcomes hundreds of visitors each year who come to marvel at the abundance and diversity of African wildlife, including a herd of elephants that climb up the entrance steps and wander into the lodge buildings – much to the amusement of the guests. In November last year I received an email from Ian Salisbury, the Manager of the Lodge, informing me that the Elephant matriarch - descriptively named “Wonky Tusk” had given birth to a new, baby boy elephant.
Of course, such a bonny baby now needed a suitably inspiring and fitting name. Lots of suggestions were put forward and rejected…and then, apparently, a BBC sports news website caught the eye of the owners…. “Wellington wins Sportswoman of the Year Award” .
And as November is also the start of the “rainy season” in Zambia, when wellington boots become fashionable footwear…what better name? ‘Wellie the Elephant’ is now 8 months old – and although he finds cycling a little difficult, swimming and marathons are no problem. I just don’t know how he fits his ears under his swim cap!
For photos and video footage of Wellie see www.mfuwelodge.com www.bushcampcompany.com and http://www.vimeo.com/12202548
Right, I am off to pack my trunk!