For those of you who don’t speak Afrikaans, good evening!
Here at Knysna Elephant Park, the staff and volunteers have been keeping quite the large secret from the public. Now that everything is complete and successful, we are able to let the cat (or elephant) out of the bag.
The “hands off” herd at Knysna Elephant Park has successfully been relocated to a free roaming game reserve! Harry, who was one of the first elephants at the park, took his family to Plett Game Reserve this following week. Harry’s herd consists of him as the dominant male, two other adult elephants, a teenager, and five babies. Ever since four orphaned babies were brought to KEP in 2013, the goal was always to find them a home as close to their previous free roaming environment. The momma of the herd, Tosha, who birthed her own baby on the farm, quickly took the four orphans under her wing and became a mother to all of them. If the babies were going, the entire herd was going.
This past Monday, a massive relocation took place to move the family to a private reserve where the herd as a whole could enjoy a free-roaming environment. The herd and three bonded handlers all took a journey to their new home, luckily only about a 30 minute drive from KEP!
The herd spent their first week in what will be their night camp at the reserve. There, we volunteers and staff traveled to the reserve to study their behaviors and herd dynamic to ensure everyone was stress free and happy. The staff here at KEP and AERU are happy to announce that the herd is loving their new home! They remained in the night camp from Monday until Friday. On Friday, they were released into their (almost) wild home. Of course, under the watchful eye of the handlers that have been with the herd for years.
Although they weren’t able to be relocated into the wild, it is incredible to be a part of a mission to return these animals to an environment that is very similar to their natural home.
This coming Friday, a group of volunteers will be going to Plett Game Reserve as tourists to see Harry and his herd in their new home! I admire everyone here at KEP for their hard work and determination to help these animals in any way possible and congrats to Plett Game Reserve for officially being home to the Big Five!