Elephants, Rhinos & People (‘ERP’) completes another phase in the “Great Karoo Elephant Migration’
Official Press Release – 16 May 2019
ERP has successfully completed the translocation of two-family groups of elephants to Mount Camdeboo Private Game Reserve and Buffalo Kloof Private Game Reserve, in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa. These two reintroductions form part of the ‘The Great Karoo Elephant Migration’, an ERP programme which aims to repopulate elephants in their former range, and restore ecosystems in the Karoo.
The elephants of the Eastern Cape were practically wiped out during the South African colonial era. Thousands of elephants were hunted for their tusks over a period of 250 years, decimating the elephant population. Subsequent hunting by farmers, resulted in an elephant population of only 16 individuals left in the province’s Addo region.
With time and protection, natural population growth in the region increased somewhat. However, what really began to improve the situation was reintroduction efforts, and this is also where ERP is seeking to make a meaningful impact. Since natural migration is no longer possible in a modern-day landscape divided by fences, roads and cities, ERP is compensating through elephant translocations. The ERP-programme is reintroducing elephants into their former range, establishing viable breeding populations and eliminating the need for elephant culling in overpopulated reserves in other parts of the country.
The latest phase in ‘The Great Karoo Elephant Migration’ follows the translocation in 2017, of a breeding herd of six elephants to the Samara Private Game Reserve, following by the introduction of two bulls from Phinda Private Game Reserve in a separate operation in 2018, all implemented by ERP.
In the next step in the program, two family units were translocated this week from Atherstone Nature Reserve, in the Limpopo Province. Atherstone is a provincial reserve that has been struggling with an overpopulation of elephants for quite some time, resulting in its vegetation being adversely affected to a degree where not only elephants, but all wildlife, could suffer. Absent ERP’s intervention, the elephants that have just been relocated would almost certainly have succumbed to culling.
The elephants were captured and loaded in Atherstone Nature Reserve early in the morning of Tuesday, May 13th. Once safely onboard the customised trucks, they underwent the 1,100 km-long journey of nonstop driving, lasting 23 hours. Upon arrival at their new home, they were welcomed by the thoroughly prepared staff of both Mount Camdeboo and Buffalo Kloof.
The two-family groups of elephants will now call the plains and mountains of the Karoo their new home. The family group relocated to Mount Camdeboo Private Game Reserve, consisted of six individuals, where Buffalo Kloof Private Game Reserve welcomed the arrival of a family group of 10 individuals, to join their existing elephant population.
These two introductions are the result of months of painstaking logistical preparation by ERP staff, covering activities including site visits, permit applications, and detailed planning to manage capture, transport, release and associated logistics. We are thankful to both Mount Camdeboo and Buffalo Kloof for their commitment to ensuring the continued safety of these elephants and for providing them with breathtaking, safe havens in the Eastern Cape.
Further thanks go to capture specialist Kester Vickery and his team at Conservation Solutions, along with Grant Fowlds who has played a very active role in securing the homes for these elephants.
For more information, please visit www.erp.ngo.
About Elephants, Rhinos & People (‘ERP’), where the life of every elephant and rhino matters.
ERP was founded to preserve and protect Southern Africa’s wild elephants and rhinos through a strategy that is based on rural poverty alleviation. In order to accomplish its mission, ERP carefully selects projects based on their potential to create economic engines for impoverished rural communities in areas adjacent to threatened elephant and rhino populations. Armed with an Ashoka-accredited poverty alleviation model, and by having a multifaceted team positioned to tackle poverty, ERP is able to address the welfare of elephants and rhinos in an unusual but effective manner. ERP brings over 20 years of experience in community relations, poverty alleviation, and impact investment in infrastructure, so as to achieve sustainable, non-lethal wildlife conservation.
Given that the poverty alleviation-based strategy is a medium to long-term proposition, ERP also implements a range of tactical interventions designed to combat the poaching problem, and to improve the welfare of elephants and rhinos in the short term. These interventions include but are not limited to, elephant and rhino relocations, a veterinary emergency response unit and drought relief programs.
About Mount Camdeboo Private Game Reserve
Mount Camdeboo Private Game Reserve lies to the east of the town of Graaff-Reinet, in the heart of the malaria free Eastern Cape's Great Karoo area. Accommodating 28 guests in 3 luxurious boutique manor homesteads and 2 sumptuous safari tents on 14 000 hectares, Mount Camdeboo continues to ensure sensitive and sustainable utilisation of natural resources as a foundation for eco-tourism and wildlife conservation in this region. Mount Camdeboo has also recently formed part of the Newmark hotels, reserves, residences and lodges portfolio.
About Buffalo Kloof Private Game Reserve
Buffalo Kloof Private Game Reserve is located 140 km from Port Elizabeth and 15 km from Grahamstown. The reserve is owned and operated by the Kosters and the Rippons. The reserve 16,000 ha and home to an abundance of wildlife.
For more information, visit www.buffalokloof.co.za
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