Updated: Mar 8
After two years of planning and months to finishing up the last touches, last Tuesday we finally got the opportunity to test in real life our new tracking solution. Batsha, a male elephant followed by Elephants Alive, needed to have his collar changed. Dr Michelle Henley asked us to accompany her team and put our tail tracking unit on Batsha to finalize our testing.
We met with the team in a reserve close to Hoedspruit, South Africa, at 15h30. And here we all went, two ground teams (Elephants Alive and The Albanu Foundation) and a flying team with Dr Ben Muller, the head veterinarian.
After more than an hour of looking for Batsha in the wilderness, we finally located him, and the flying team darted him, we now had 45 minutes to work while Batsha slept peacefully. The Elephants Alive team was working on changing the collar and taking measurement on every part of this gentle giant, while The Albanu Foundation team was busy installing the tail unit and flying the drone which collected the data from the tail tracker.
After 40 minutes of hard work from all of us, we all got back in our vehicles and in less than two minutes, Batsha was awake, up and running, back into the wild.
Our mission now is to check him periodically to check if our tail unit holds in the wild. But that a story for another time.
Once again, I would like to thank:
Elephants Alive: Dr Michelle Henley and her team
Wildscapes: Drs. Ben Muller and Joel Alves
Hope for Wildlife Helicopter Services: Jana Meyer
Permission and logistical assistance: Ian Nowak, Dirk de Kerk (LEDET), Tertius Hofmeyr (PMC), Sasha Mulder (PMC)
Co-Founder & President
The Albanu Foundation