No expense spared to bring teenage elephants to Aquila Private Game Reserve
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Two young 14-year-old elephants were recently translocated to Aquila Private Game Reserve and Spa in the Western Cape, increasing the herd size and enhancing their conservation programmes.
Searl Derman, the owner of Aquila Private Game Reserve, said the reserve is the first Western Cape private game reserve in 270 years to reintroduce the Big 5 to the Cape after colonial hunters shot and killed most of these species in the Western Cape.
He added that the translocating of the elephants was a mammoth task.
“No expense was spared to ensure a team of researchers, vets and conservation staff kept a keen eye on the process while monitoring the behaviour.
"One of the new elephants introduced at Aquila was orphaned and rehabilitated before being reintroduced to the wild. Being born in captivity, the other elephant offers the conservation teams a great research opportunity, observing it now, roaming free, alongside the other Big 5 and wildlife on the reserve," he said.
Although the release and introduction were considered a success, it did not occur completely without incident. He said one elephant had a standoff with a rhino. “After a big display of mock charging, trumpeting and ear flapping, both parties walked away uninjured and happy,” said Derman.
The elephants spent their first day exploring their new home and interacting curiously with the other wildlife. Derman said that the meeting between the reserve’s animals and one of the Aquila elephants “was a beautiful moment as they humbly greeted each other and immediately bonded”.
The elephants’ anxiety and stress levels are minimal, and “their trunk attitude and body postures satisfying”.
“Moving and reintroducing wildlife is always risky, and I would like to thank the teams for overseeing the translocation of these beautiful animals. It is extremely gratifying to witness this moment, and we are proud to continue our wildlife conservation work while expanding our wildlife populations," Derman added.