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Post-monitoring Elephants released in Hwange Nat’l Park, Zimbabwe

Written By: admin on November 10, 2009 No Comment

In April 2009, ZNSPCA (the Zimbabwe SPCA) found 10 captive elephants that were chained and bound, suffering from malnutrition and bearing injuries from being beaten daily by their handlers in an attempt to train them for commercial use.  During the time it took to investigate the case and obtain guardianship of the elephants, one young bull had died.  ZNSPCA approached the Minister of Environment and Natural Resources, Honourable Minister Nhema, and officials from the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources and National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (NPWMA) to discuss this dilemma.  It was agreed that the remaining 9 elephants would be translocated and released back into the wild. With assistance from Vier Pfoten, an international animal welfare agency, and under advice from elephant specialist, Joyce Pool, and Karen Trendler, the ZNSPCA had been caring for the elephants and rehabilitating them, while preparing for their release in Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park. It was also decided that the elephants would need to be monitored after their release.

Just 2 weeks prior to the scheduled release date, Elephants Without Borders was approached for advice and to discuss the possibility of helping on the post-monitoring program of the herd. EWB suggested that satellite collars would be more conducive and reliable in this case, rather than VHF radio or “release” collars and agreed to assist by helping attain the collars and monitor the elephants.

The release of these elephants involved many organizations:  promoted, supervised and organized by Glynis Vaughan of  ZNSPCA, funding provided by IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare,) and Andre Uys with his team from Conservation Solutions conducted the translocation, assisted by Roger Parry of Wild Horizons Trust. The event took place this week, starting late Monday night the elephants were loaded into trucks and the move began. The actual release happened on Tuesday morning, Nov 3rd.  The elephants walked off the truck at 9:30am together and seemingly relaxed and calm. We are happy to have received reports that the event went well and the elephants are still banded together as one herd, wandering the wilderness freely.

ZNSPCA Press statement of wild captured elephants

ZNSPCA takes great pleasure in reporting the successful release today into Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe, of nine previously captured elephants. The release would not have been possible without the assistance and dedication of Vier-Pfoten International and their volunteers. Conservation Solutions were contracted to translocate the elephants and did so in a humane and professional manner with no loss of life or injury to the elephants.

ZNSPCA would like to take this opportunity to commend the Minister of Environment and Natural Resources, Honourable Minister Nhema, officials from the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources and National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority for their integral role in the release of these abused elephants.

Glynis Vaughan

Chief Inspector

(to read or download Glynis Vaughan’s Media Release, go to EWB’s News page, by clicking here. To read other reports, maps and publications, go to EWB’s Downloads page, by clicking here)

Elephants Without Borders are pleased and honored to be part of the post-monitoring program of these elephants and are looking forward to working with the monitoring team. We will also be happy to keep everyone informed as to the elephants progress. We send our Good Luck Wishes to the herd, as they adjust back into the wild, and a tremendous “Trunks Up Salute!” to all the people and interested parties that invested their hard work, dedication and support to make the elephants’ release a success!

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