In 2019, a daring rescue took place against the dramatic backdrop of the African bush. A magnificent bull elephant, weighing approximately five tonnes, had been pushed out of a herd on his home reserve in the Eastern Cape and was reported by neighbouring farm owners to be wandering across roads and farmland, in search of food and water, and had been marked for death by the authorities.
In a race against time, Dereck Milburn, The Aspinall Foundation’s Southern Africa Project Director, put together a task team of experts in order to provide government officials with an alternative solution to shooting the elephant.
Within 30 hours, the decision to shoot the animal was overturned and The Eastern Cape’s Department of Economic Development & Environmental Affairs issued a relocation permit, whilst the necessary funds to support the translocation were put in place.
As the sun rose, the project team were already hard at work. Vets took to the air by helicopter to locate the elephant, named Harry by the team. They then sedated him using a dart gun, firing from a moving helicopter with pinpoint accuracy.
Once Harry was safely sedated, the team reacted swiftly to move him in to his travel crate and on to the transport vehicle, to embark on the 120-kilometre journey to the safety of Mount Camdeboo Private Reserve. After being fitted with a tracking collar, Harry was released into his new home and set off in search of the small breeding herd of elephants that were saved from a cull and released into the reserve earlier in the year.
Dedicated monitors have been continuously tracking the eight-strong herd and we are delighted to share some incredible news: Harry has become a father! The mother, Luwanda, and the calf are doing well and we could not be more excited to share this amazing news with you.
We are so proud to have been involved in securing Harry’s future and that a new chapter of his story has begun. Despite their ordeals, this family now have the chance to blossom in safety thanks to the unparalleled teamwork and unrelenting commitment of the teams and of course, our wonderful