Transporting Elephants: Will It Be Worth It?
by Amy Lignor
There are things that conservationists and lovers of animals do in order to protect creatures that most definitely need protection. From the struggle of the wolves in Yellowstone to the White Rhino in Africa, there are humans out there in the world who wish to annihilate a breed without giving a second thought to what that actually means.
Well, now…we have a new “attempt” that may seem backwards to some. In a location where poachers have been prevalent in the past and have actually wiped out entire species, conservationists are trying with all their might to save the African elephant by moving them back into this location where they almost perished at the hands of humans once before. Two national parks (Majete and Liwonde, to be exact) are struggling with an African elephant surplus. So, to solve this, 500 of the creatures are being transported from those parks to the once dreaded wildlife reserve.
There is a goal when it comes to moving these 500 creatures into the Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve, and that goal is to repopulate the area with the once-threatened species. And, if this works, to repeat the process in other locations.
There is certainly a ban on the trade of ivory internationally. However, poachers go after the African elephants because of the demand made by mostly Asian countries, where they use the priceless ivory to carve jewelry and décor/ornaments that sell at high prices.
Photos and stories have been accumulating across the internet when it comes to this “move.” And these photos and stories, from afar, may seem absolutely horrific. The photos tend to make this “heroic” project seem far more dangerous and, quite frankly, mean to the creatures. More dangerous than simply just leaving them where they are.
It was just two weeks ago that a photo of an elephant being lifted by a crane in an upside down position cropped up. In Lilongwe, Malawi, the photo was taken and the AP reported that the elephants will be moved this month and next (and again next year) when “vehicles can maneuver on the rugged terrain during Southern Africa’s dry winter.”
Keep in mind these animals weigh between 5,000 to 14,000 pounds, so the photos look even worse, even though moving them is not an easy feat. The process was this: An elephant is shot with a dart from a helicopter. A veterinarian is in the helicopter and the darts being shot are filled with a sedative in order to more easily gather the animals together for the move. More photos show numerous immobilized elephants lying on a riverside plain as a vet fits them with tracking collars…then the crane lifts the creature, hanging upside down, onto a truck.
According to the conservationists, the elephants are given another injection once they are in crates that bring them back to life, so to speak, where they are then herded into a transport container. This is how they must do it for the elephants to take the 185 mile journey to the reserve. All anyone can hope is, after going through all of this, that once at the reserve the elephants will not be taken out by poachers yet again.
You be the judge, of course. Yes, it seems definitely nerve-wracking for the animal in the wild, but the process (according to the “saviors” of these creatures) has been refined, and is the easiest way to keep the animals safe as they move them. Not to mention, give them the ability to keep the elephant families together.
Source: Baret News