10 Feb Elephant relocation
This morning the team were lucky enough to join with an elephant relocation operation. This particular bull elephant broke onto Pidwa a few weeks ago and has been having all sorts of fun breaking fences and causing havoc. Today it was time to return him home, a combined organisation effort between the Greater Makalali & Pidwa Nature Reserve and ‘Elephant’s Alive’. The Askari team were able to locate the bull first thing this morning and give coordinates to the helicopter pilot. Flying low to the elephant a tranquiliser dart is shot by a vet in the helicopter. The skilled pilot then uses the aircraft to steer the elephant towards a road. This bull fell about 50 metres into the bush where the ground team were on hand to clear through the bush making a clear route for the truck. Under anaesthetic, a crane is used to lift the elephant by ropes tied round his legs. Although it looks a little undignified this is a trialled and tested method that has been used for many years and does not hurt the animal. Throughout the whole procedure, members of the team are checking on the condition of the elephant including the breathing rate. A simple stick is used in the end of the trunk to keep it open and ensure air flow. Once loaded on the truck the elephant was on his way for the 1.5 hour drive back to his home reserve. What a special experience for the team to be involved in, many thanks to all involved.