The new 2017 season is here, and the Bushlife Support Unit elephant collaring project is underway!

The Bushlife Support Unit had an extremely successful past six weeks where they worked on both the anti-poaching and elephant monitoring program in Mana Pools National Park.

Nick and Aware Trust Zimbabwe help an injured bull – Tusker!

On Thursday 16th March Nick, Des, Jed and Tait together with the vets from #AwareTrustZimbabwe boated in to #Vunducamp-Mana Pools to attend to Tusker a bull elephant that frequents that area.Nick had one of his best trackers on the case so that Tusker could be found quickly. The vets got in close for an assessment and it was clear there was some type of injury to the front leg. Tusker was immobilised for a closer look and X-ray to determine if there was any metal or shrapnel in the leg- fortunately there was not and his condition seemed to have happened naturally. He was given a large dose of antibiotics and will be monitored closely, hopefully he will make a complete and full recovery. Nick and all at #BSU would like to thank Lisa Marabini, Keith Dutlow and Kathy Trevenan of Aware Trust and anybody else involved for all their help.

Posted by Bushlife Support Unit on Monday, 20 March 2017

tusker the elephantOn Thursday 16th March Nick, Des, Jed and Tait, together with the vets from Aware Trust Zimbabwe, boated into Vundu Camp in Mana Pools to attend to a well-known bull elephant, Tusker. Nick, along with one of his best trackers, discovered Tuskers location quickly and once the vets had a closer assessment of Tusker, they found an injury on his front leg. Tusker had to be immobilised for a closer inspection and needed to have an X-ray to determine if there was any metal or shrapnel in the leg. Fortunately for Tusker, he was lucky this time around and his condition seemed to have occurred naturally. After a large dose of antibiotics and constant monitoring, he should make a full recovery. Nick and all at Bushlife Support Unit Trust would like to thank Lisa Marabini, Keith Dutlow and Kathy Trevenan of Aware Trust Zimbabwe and everybody else involved for all their help given to Tusker.

The elephant collaring project, funded by Bushlife Conservancy, was underway this month.

“Bushlife Safari Unit Trust sought and received preliminary approval to undertake an elephant collaring project, in order to better protect these magnificent animals. Animals with protective collars will be off-limits to trophy hunters, regardless of whether the animal migrates outside the protective boundaries of the Park. The collars will also provide a basis for research into the animals’ movements and behaviors, being undertaken by the National Park Ecologist. Thanks to the generous donation of Margot Raggett, author of “Remembering the Elephants,” BSUT has the funds to collar 2 elephants, but we need much more, since the cost to collar an elephant is approximately US$5,000 each.”

Elephants are fast disappearing from the wild and need our help. With an elephant poached every fifteen minutes, efforts to keep these giants on our earth are essential. Visit the brand new Bushlife Conservancy website to learn more about their projects, and consider Donating towards the elephant collaring project if you would like to assist with this great cause.

Collaring elephants is now an essential process and it needs to be noted that it doesn’t hurt the elephants. Bushlife Support Unit Trust’s plan for the first elephant collaring process was to work with an iconic bull elephant called Impi. However, as Impi was not place at the right time, we had to turn our attention to another well-known and loved elephant bull, Boswell.

Boswell was formerly the only collared elephant in Mana Pools National Park, but as the collar was put on several years ago, it was no longer working. The National Park authorities were keen to have him re-collared and we successfully accomplished this. With the combined work from Bushlife Support Unit Trust, Bushlife Conservancy and private donations, we managed to raise enough money for four collars, so we have three more lucky elephants to go!

Below you can see how incredible the collaring process is and the hard work that gets put into it. Once Boswell had been darted, we needed to remove his old collar (which took four strong men just to lift his head and tusks) and then the new collar needed to be fitted. Timing is crucial in this process as you do not want the elephant to be once the vet had administered the drug for Boswell to wake him up, he wandered off quite happily, unaware of his new collar. You can watch the whole process here in this amazing video clip here!

As promised, here's the (3.5 minute) video of the collaring of Boswell last week. As I posted before, this was the first of four initial collarings as part of the 'Mana Pools Iconic Bulls Collaring Programme', following a proposed law change in Zimbabwe. Iconic bulls which are collared will be protected by law from being hunted in hunting concessions, once the law is gazetted. Although Boswell already had a collar, it was not working, so he was included in the programme and was the first to be collared under this new initiative. The whole programme is thanks to the inspirational vision and drive of Nick Murray of Bushlife Conservancy and I'm incredibly proud that Remembering Elephants and some personal donations from supporters funded three of these initial collars. Thank you also to Aware Trust Zimbabwe for generously donating their services for free. A wonderful example of teamwork! #rememberingelephants

Posted by Margot Raggett on Saturday, 15 April 2017

bushlife elephant treatment