IN PICTURES | Mischievous elephant gang relocated to unfenced paradise

24 August 2017 - 08:41 By Alaister Russell
Members of the relocation team work to secure Charles the elephant on a truck after he was darted with a tranquilliser. Vets need to ensure the elephant's trunk and airways are unobstructed at all times.
Members of the relocation team work to secure Charles the elephant on a truck after he was darted with a tranquilliser. Vets need to ensure the elephant's trunk and airways are unobstructed at all times.
Image: Alaister Russell

Charles, the resident bull elephant at Dinokeng Game Reserve in Hammanskraal, northern Gauteng, made headlines nationally after sticking it to humanity and breaking down the wall to meander towards the neighbouring populated areas with his squad.

Lumpy starts regaining consciousness after being given a reversal drug to wake him up. The team links ropes to his tusks to assist him to stand as the tranquilliser wears off.
Lumpy starts regaining consciousness after being given a reversal drug to wake him up. The team links ropes to his tusks to assist him to stand as the tranquilliser wears off.
Image: Alaister Russell

Elephants, Rhino and People (ERP), employed to monitor the problematic elephants, sprang into action and walked the herd back. But that was only the start for Charles the rebel and his gang of breakout artists, Tiny Tim, Hot Stuff and Lumpy.

Lumpy stands up as the sedatives wear off. This truck will be his home for the next 36 hours. The driver administers a relaxant along the way so the elephants don't panic during the trip.
Lumpy stands up as the sedatives wear off. This truck will be his home for the next 36 hours. The driver administers a relaxant along the way so the elephants don't panic during the trip.
Image: Alaister Russell

Once an elephant learns to break down fences its a downward slope and they are likely to continue their reign of delinquency.

Some of the fed-up communities inside the reserve called for the culling of the bulls but ERP director of operations Dereck Milburn saved the day.

A member of the relocation team gently holds Lumpy's trunk to help his breathing. Vets check on the sedated animal's heart rate and blood pressure and monitor its breathing to ensure it doesn't go into shock.
A member of the relocation team gently holds Lumpy's trunk to help his breathing. Vets check on the sedated animal's heart rate and blood pressure and monitor its breathing to ensure it doesn't go into shock.
Image: Alaister Russell

The elephants’ relocation won’t be a “long walk to freedom” but a 36 - hour, 1,250km journey by road to Zinave National Park in Mozambique where they will enjoy 400,000 hectares of unfenced freedom. 

Kester Vickery from Conservation Solutions pours soap and water into the truck to help lubricate the elephants' entry. Vickery is a large-game capture specialist.
Kester Vickery from Conservation Solutions pours soap and water into the truck to help lubricate the elephants' entry. Vickery is a large-game capture specialist.
Image: Alaister Russell

WATCH: Charles the elephant packs his trunk and says goodbye to Dinokeng

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