Mikumi National Park, Tanzania - The elephant keeled over in the tall grass in Tanzania, where some of the world's worst poaching has occurred.
It wasn't killers who targeted her but conservation officials who shot her with a dart of drugs. Soon she was snoring. They slid on a 26-pound (12-kilogram) GPS tracking collar and injected an antidote, bringing her back to her feet.
The operation was part of a yearlong effort to track 60 elephants in and around Tanzania's Selous Game Reserve, widely acknowledged as "ground zero" in the poaching that has decimated Africa's elephants. The Associated Press went there to witness how the battle to save them is gaining momentum, with killings declining and some populations growing again. Legal ivory markets are shrinking worldwide and law enforcement has broken up some trafficking syndicates, experts say.
But it's too early to declare a turnaround. Poachers are moving to new areas and traffickers are adapting, aided by corruption. The rate of annual elephant losses still exceeds the birth rate. And the encroachment of human settlements reduces the animals' range.
"We have a long way to go before we can feel comfortable about the future," said Chris Thouless of Save the Elephants, a group based in Kenya, where elephant numbers are increasing.
Britain this month announced a ban on ivory sales. In China, trade in ivory is illegal as of this year. In the U.S., a ban on ivory apart from items older than 100 years began in 2016.
If poaching can be brought under control in Tanzania, there is hope that the killing can be stemmed across Africa.