Due to the drought, a lot of animals were searching for resources which resulted in some animals breaking out of the reserve.
Especially elephants were looking for better areas. Three young bulls have been moving outside of the reserve for a while. They seemed to be coping well but it is important to bring them back to the safety of the reserve.
Yesterday the operation took place and the three bulls were darted. The elephants were lifted up onto trucks and securely tightened. The veterinary teams stay with the elephants whilst driving to ensure that they do not wake up during the operation. Then the long drive back to the reserve started, quite a sight it was when the elephants were driving through Hoedspruit as the people watched in awe when these large animals on trucks drove by. Not an everyday sight that is for sure! The elephants were brought to one of the airstrips in the reserve and gently lowered from the trucks. When everyone took a respectable distance, the vet woke the elephants up. Confused and stumbling they stood up to orientate themselves, but after some time they all slowly moved off together back into the safety of the bush. A successful operation! We hope that these bulls will stay inside the reserve and stay safe! Thank you to everyone involved that made this relocation happen, thanks to everyone who donated to fund this operation, thanks to Elephants Alive that set the operation in motion and thank you to the vets and ground teams to make this operation go smooth and safely.
But conservation does not always just apply to wildlife. Our volunteers got the chance to help out at the Hoedspruit Animal Outreach. This is an organisation that assists in the welfare of domestic animals in the rural communities. The volunteers assisted with the treatment and vaccinations of the dogs brought by the local community. A total of 43 dogs were treated and 3 of them are now signed up for sterilisation. This group of dogs also consisted of a big batch of puppies! A puppy overload but great fun! The volunteers enjoyed the work and we want to thank HALO for letting us assist with your work, keep up the good job! We must take care of our domestic animals just as well as our wildlife. Vaccinating domestic animals also reduces the chance of diseases being transmitted between domestic animals to wildlife. And since the communities that HALO works with lay next to the border of the reserve it is critical that this is done.
Also in the local communities more work was done by the Bushbaby Environmental Education and the schools. For the first day of spring Sausage trees were planted at the schools. After learning about its morphological structure, traditional beliefs and traditional uses the tree was planted by the students it is now the students their responsibility to make sure the tree will grow out to become a beautiful large tree. Taking care of plants and trees is a big learning experience and is very important to understand why it is important to not only take care of animals but also of plants.
Inside the reserve the volunteers and staff have also been working very hard. As the reserve used to be farmland long before it was turned into a nature reserve and became part of the Greater Kruger, some remnants of this can still be found. Warren took the volunteers on foot through the bush and stumbled on a large amount of left behind metal and wire. For the safety of the wildlife this must be removed as soon as possible. So Warren and the volunteers spend days in a row picking up every last piece of metal, which resulted in 3 large loads that were taken away! A job well done. The volunteers also continued with treating the alien vegetation like Prickly pears and Queen of the night cactuses. Large batches have been treated either through chemical control or biological control.
The Black Mambas are currently still working with Major Alice Bromage. She is currently training them on self-presentation, media awareness whilst still doing their full moon patrols. Now a group of hard working Mambas got the chance to go with Major Alice to Kruger National Park. A great treat after all the hard work! We want to thank Major Alice for her commitment to helping the Black Mambas as her stay is coming to an end. We hope that you will enjoy the trip to Kruger and end with some great wildlife sightings!
We also want to say thank you and good bye to Riki Ueda, a freelance journalist from Hongkong. She has spent a few months with us as she is writing a book about conservation issues and organisations that work on these issues. Whilst working with us she got the ins and outs of conservation work and the protection of the wildlife. We are looking forward to read the end result.
Good luck with your book and enjoy the rest of your stay in Africa! And may we meet again sometime in the future!