What it takes to capture two bull elephants (South Africa)


Refilwe Pitjeng, Eyewitness News

Date Published

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PRETORIA: The Dinokeng Game Reserve said goodbye to two of four of its bull elephants on Wednesday as the bulls headed to their new home at a park in Mozambique.

Dinokeng donated elephants Charles and Lumpy to the Zinave National Park in Mozambique as they have learnt how to break fences, causing significant damage to property and possibly endangering human lives.

The process started eight 8 months ago; it involved improving roads to Mozambique, securing a helicopter for tranquilising the bulls, bull boxes, veterinarians, and trucks.

The process of tranquilising both the bulls and then waking them to load them into a truck takes about 4 hours.

It took a team of about 20 people – consisting of wildlife veterinarians, conservation specialists and game rangers – to execute the plan.

The process began at around 7:00am on Wednesday when the vets and the rest of the team got into vehicles, following a helicopter to locate the bulls.

A team member in the helicopter darts the animals.

The team on the ground then approaches the tranquilised animals, tying industrial ropes around the tusks and legs, whereafter it’s lifted onto a flatbed truck.

After a few minutes each animal is woken so it can walk into a transport box on top of a truck.

If the bulls could not be moved culling would have been considered, but Elephants, Rhino & People (ERP) stepped in to facilitate the relocation.

ERP has been on the forefront of protecting the four bulls from Dinokeng.

The organisation raised around R640,000 to relocate the bulls to Mozambique.

Dereck Milburn, director of operations at ERP says, “It’s been an emotional process. We are excited about it. It’s going to take 35 to 40 hours to move them to Mozambique.”

Milburn has made the assurance that both bulls are healthy and can travel up to 55 hours.

The remaining two bulls, named Hotstuff and Tiny Tim, will be moved on Monday