Category Archives: Blog

Collaring Elephants in Mozambique

Banhine National Park

We started our search for elephants at Banhine National Park, a beautiful reserve tucked away like a precious jewel amid the wilderness areas which are still part of the Mozambique landscape. Our eyes met with breathtaking views of vast pans dotted with water lilies surrounded by autumn glad Mopani woodlands, Greenthorns, Star-chestnuts and coppery Baobabs piercing the younger canopies like ancient sentinels. The stage was perfectly set to find elephants but we could only find two pairs of fresh tracks of wily bulls who had learnt to circumnavigate human settlements. Their dung was full of germinating watermelon seeds: a dead giveaway of their nocturnal raids into neighbouring settlements.  We literally did search high and low for the owners of the spoor but they eluded us in the dense Ironwood forests.

Project vehicle during refueling of chopper during elephant collaring

Next we moved on to Parque Nacional do Limpopo. Here finding elephants also proved incredibly challenging. As with our trip in 2016 to deploy the first five elephant collars, we found signs of poachers before finding any elephants. We flew over snare-lines and packs of hunting dogs while strips of fresh meat decorated the trees like a macabre Christmas tree celebrating the slain carcasses of the animals that dotted the landscape.

Finally finding an elephant to collar in Parque Nacional do Limpopo

Finally we caught sight of our first group of elephants in the late afternoon the day before we were scheduled to abandon our eight day trip.  At first light of our last day the experienced vet and pilot team set off to deploy the remaining five collars on the group of elephants. We managed to collar four bulls and a young female. These elephants move together in a tight group, huddled together by their fear of the darker side of man. We wish them safety and hope their tracking data set will shed light on how they have managed to survive by hiding like refugees in the former lands of Mozambique which once restocked the Kruger National Park with elephants before the price of ivory skyrocketed.

Map of the movements of the ellies collared in Parque National du Limpopo

We would like to thank the following organisations and people for all their efforts to assist us with the collaring operations:

National Administration of Conservation Areas (ANAC): Dr. Bartolomeu Soto (Director) and Dr. Carlos Lopez Pereira (Head of Law Enforcement and Anti-poaching) for organising flight clearance. Banhine NP: Abel Nhabanga (Warden), Helder Aanmandlate (Head of Security), Ernesto Filipe da Silva (GIS technician). The Peace Parks Foundation (PPF): Antony Alexander (Country Manager), Peter Leitner (Project Manager PNL), Billy Swanepoel (Technical Advisor Protection and Wildlife PNL) and Hannes van Wyk (Conservation Aerial Support Pilot) all helped with the logistics of the operation. We are very grateful to the PPF for donating the fuel. Save the Elephants Crisis Fund: Thank you to Chris Thouless for funding the operating expenses of the collaring operation. Conservation Action Trust: Francis Garrard kindly donated the collars and sponsored the camping crew. Dr. Cobus Raath and Jacques Saayman as experienced veterinarian and wildlife pilot, you never fail to complete a mission. We can’t thank you enough for your perseverance under pressure. Kristoffer Everatt and Rae Kokes, thank you for assisting with the pre-operation sightings of elephants. Adam Cruise provided transport for part of the expedition.

YPO Help Collar Elephants

Elephants Alive was honoured and delighted to have a group of 9 members of the Young Pesidents Organisation ( YPO ) and their families, join the team and fund a major elephant collaring operation.  YPO is the premier leadership organisation of chief executives in the world – and the group included young business leaders from America, Australia, Germany and South Africa.

YPO funded the collaring operations for 7 young bull elephants, in and around the private Balule Nature Reserve – significantly expanding Elephants Alive’s study area to the west.  These elephants, aged between 15 and 25 years, have not previously been collared and data from their tracking movements will provide invaluable insights into the social dynamics and movements of these young bulls – how far do they range and how much do they associate with each other and the breeding herds. YPO also funded the recollaring of a female elephant, Charlize, whose old collar needed replacing.

YPO funded all the collaring costs, and to thank them for their generous support, they were granted naming rights for the 7 new bulls.  So please meet Dex, Elon, Lekotla, Bocha, Induna, Khumo and Nthaba– we look forwards to news of their travels over the coming years…


It was a pleasure and privilege for the Elephants Alive team to spend time discussing elephant conservation issues with such an influential network of international business leaders.  A very big thank you to YPO, Dex Kotze (YPO Gold Johannesburg), and event manager, Annie Sowden.

“I can say, without a scintilla of doubt, this was the most memorable, impactful, emotional and life-altering trip of my life”.  YPO participant, Dan Afrasiabi.

 

A tribute to Wayne Lotter, elephant conservationist murdered in Tanzania

By Michelle Henley.
You were and will always be an inspiration. You sacrificed so much to protect the elephants we love. I will remember you and pay homage to you with every elephant we try to protect or save. I will make sure that we fight harder to keep them alive. I met you and Krissie while trying to create a better world for elephants and that is why Elephants Alive and the PAMS Foundation still have a long journey ahead. We have not yet secured a future for the elephants so we will not let you die in vain.
You will live on with every leafy footprint that Wayne, the elephant, leaves in African soils. You will live on in your daughter Tamsin’s efforts when she comes back to work for us. You will live on in every effort to protect wildlife. You will live on in these words:
You are a trail blazer, a path finder, a leader, a hero, a friend, an example and a mentor. Thank you for blessing us all.

Riverleigh International Equestrian Centre annual fancy dress freestyle charity event

RIVERLEIGH INTERNATIONAL EQUESTRIAN CENTRE – VALLEY ROAD MULDERSDRIFT – SUNDAY 8 OCTOBER 2017

The annual fancy dress freestyle charity event is one of the highlights on the Riverleigh International Equestrian Centre`s event calendar. All proceeds and donations this year will go to  Elephants Alive.

Riders of all ages enter and compete in this freestyle event and the routines are judged by professional judges. Prizes and trophies are awarded to the best riders for their technical ability and their innovative “fancy dress freestyle routines”.

In order to compete, the riders choreograph a freestyle routine to music, and appropriate costumes are worn by the riders and their horses to reflect the chosen theme. The process takes many months of planning and practice to reach the high standards expected of both horse and rider.

The event is held on a beautiful country estate in Muldersdrift, Gauteng. The property has been professionally designed to include plush livery quarters for horses, ultimately designed for Dressage with two top class full sized arenas, a show-jumping arena and smaller arenas for lungeing and pony riders. The full entertainment/catering area is used for show days and seasonal and fun events and can also be used as a place to just sit back, relax and soak in the absolute calm and inviting country atmosphere.

This is not a graded event, but all are most welcome! For more information regarding the event, or how to get involved, please contact Sheba Zager at shebazager@imaginet.co.za

Prize:

3 nights self-catering accommodation for 4 guests at Offbeat Horse Safaris, trail ride on game farm and a 2 hour horseback safari in the Hoedspruit Wildlife Estate with African Dream Horse Safari

The ‘Amazing Maze Walk’ for up to 14 people (in one group) generously  sponsored by Conrad Penny,  owner of Chartwell Castle and Guesthouse.– The biggest known uninterrupted hedgerow maze in the Southern world (and the third largest in the world), with over 900 conifers. It covers about 6000 sq.m. (approximately 1.5 acres), which is around 5 times bigger than The Hampton Court Maze. The centre is ± 12m x 12m.

The Virgin Active BelAir Health Club sponsored Spinnathon fundraiser for Elephants Alive will be held at BelAir Virgin Active, 10 BelAir Shopping Centre, Malibongwe Drive, Randburg,  from 8:00-11:-00 on Saturday, 30 September. For further information contact Joan Delport on 083 287 2984