In a joint fundraising initiative between Wild Wonderful World and Ellie and May, our Vitual Elephant Collaring operation aimed to collar three elephant's in the Greater Kruger Area, in support of Elephant Alive's "Tracking Giants" research. You can read more about their research here: https://elephantsalive.org/our-work/
Those who bought tickets joined us live online for the first collaring at 8am CAT. 100% of the cost of the tickets was used to fund the operation). Michelle from Wild Wonderful World and Amy from Ellie and May hosted the live video event.
The first collaring was a resounding success, with a cow elephant darted from the helicopter. She went down in quite a rocky area and lay against a big rock. Attempts were made to try pull her off the rock (to prevent her organs getting squahsed) but she was too heavy! Alas, the team moved quickly - the new collar was fitted and data was collected by the Elephants Alive team, including measurements, hair samples, dung sample and milk sample, which was achieved through squeezing the teat of the elephant cow! A reverse sedative was administered by the vet and she soon got up to re-join her herd.
The second elephant was darted and re-collared on a nearby reserve. The helicopter and vet flew to work with a second ground team, and we are pleased to report that this operation also went well and the elephant was successfully re-collared.
The third elephant, Derek, was due to be re-collared that day, and we went live at 2pm CAT to do so! His collar had updated his last position from earlier that morning and we moved into the area to relocate him. To our absolute dismay we found the collar but not the elephant - after 4 years, the collar had simply worn through and fallen off. What are the chances when we were about to re-collar him! Unfortunately we were unable to locate him and the re-collaring had to be postponed until he was relocated. Watch this space! When he is relocated, the collaring will still be filmed live and all ticket holders will recieve the link :)
The total cost of the operation was ZAR282,200 (USD19,100), which included the cost of the 3 collars, collar GPS data package, veterinary expenses, helicopter time and a contribution to the anti poaching efforts in the reserves. A huge thank you to everyone who purchased tickets and made donations - we could not have raised this money without you!
A big thank you also to our partners in this operation:
Live Filming supported by Painted Dog TV
Vets WildScape Veterinary Services (Dr Ben Muller)
And our Raffle Sponsors: Siviti Lodge, Sapmok, Naude Wine, Ellie & May Caps & Wild Wonderful World safari shirt