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Meet Four Elephant Calves Who are About to Go Back to the Wild

Posted By : The Animal Facts Editorial Team

Date: June 8, 2020 8:52 pm

Photo Credit: Vivian Jebet / Northern Rangelands Trust

In the good news we all need right now, San Diego Zoo Global have shared their work in Kenya preparing four African elephants for release to the wild.

The four calves were raised at the Reteti Elephant Sanctuary after being rescued from a range of situations. They are being released on to the Sera Wildlife Conservancy which provides protection from predators and poaching owing to their fenced reserve and law enforcement presence.

The four elephants have been named Nadosoit, Baawa, Nchurai and Loisaba by their carers. Naomi Leshonguro, one of longest-standing keepers at Reteti Elephant Sanctuary explained that the four, “all arrived at Reteti in some sort of critical state, either physically or emotionally.”

Naomi is noteable for being the first female elephant caretaker in Kenya. She continued, “I really feel sad to see them leave Reteti, but I feel proud of them and the work we have done to see them return to the wild.”

Photo Credit: Vivian Jebet / Northern Rangelands Trust

The successful release is another milestone in the partnership between the Northern Rangelands Trust, Save the Elephants and San Diego Zoo Global.

At Sera Wildlife Conservancy the group will experience a soft release. This soft release involves the group being tracked by satellite and video monitoring so they can be given the support they require to thrive before they go on to explore the rangelands of wild Africa. Sera Conservancy is currently home to other groups of wild elephants which the calves will be able to interact with.

Initially they will spend time in an enclosure called a boma while they adjust to their new home before being given access to the whole conservancy.

Before being moved to the Sera Wildlife Conservancy the group were assessed by Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) and Northern Rangelands Trust (NRT) scientists and veterinarians, Sera and Reteti management and community representatives.

Photo Credit: Vivian Jebet / Northern Rangelands Trust

The release of these calves brings the number successfully raised and released at Reteti to 10. The rescue was only established 3 ½ years ago so this is a massive achievement.

The other 6 elephants were released last year and David Daballen, head of field operations at Save the Elephants shared that, “From our tracking data, we can see that the six Reteti orphans released last year are increasingly integrating with wild elephants.”

The data shows their range overlaps with wild elephants with whom they share water points and are often in close contact. We are pleased with the progress of the orphans, and look forward to watching them grow to mature males and females, and eventually freed from the fenced environment of Sera Rhino Sanctuary to be truly wild,” he continued.

Three of the calves from this group will be fitted with radio collars and help support the ongoing work which has been co-led by San Diego Zoo Global and Save the Elephants. These are aiming to discover the African elephants movement patterns, social behavior and body condition.

Learn more about elephants here – Elephants | The Animal Facts

Learn more about San Diego Zoo Global here – San Diego Zoo Global

Learn more about the Reteti elephant rescue and rehabilitation center here – Reteti Elephant Rescue

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