Eleven elephants were successfully transferred from Blaauwbosch Private Game Reserve to their new home near Makhanda on Thursday.
After being darted and loaded at Blaauwbosch, situated at Kleinpoort between Uitenhage and Jansenville, the animals were trucked to Buffalo Kloof Game Reserve where they were released.
The Aspinall Foundation’s Dereck Milburn, who co-ordinated the operation, which was backed by the provincial environment department and the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, said the jumbos had weathered the journey well.
“They’re looking super chilled and are already feeding.”
The smoothness of the transfer followed on a day of high drama on Wednesday when Blaauwbosch’s owner, United Arab Emirates Sheikh Khalaf Ahmed Khalaf Al Otaiba, applied for an urgent interdict to halt the pending removal of his animals.
The matter went to the high court in Makhanda and an order was eventually handed down by judge Gerald Bloem on Wednesday evening, dismissing the application with costs, thereby allowing the removal to go ahead.
The operation, which was co-funded by the foundation with American Chris Holcroft’s Wild 911, followed repeated warnings from the authorities related to how Blaauwbosch was being managed.
In court on Wednesday, the sheikh’s counsel, advocate Lila Crouse, said the removal of the animals amounted to the forfeiture of valuable property without a forfeiture order.
She argued the animals were in no imminent danger from the drought because they were being fed lucerne and water was being provided.
But advocate Ivana Bands, for the SPCA, said renowned wildlife vet Dr William Fowlds had found that the removal of the animals was urgent due to the state of the reserve.
Concerns raised about insufficient water and forage, lack of maintenance on perimeter fences and not having the correct Protected and Threatened Species permits had also not been adequately addressed.
Buffaloes and a giraffe are also due to be transferred from Blaauwbosch to other reserves.
Original article: https://www.heraldlive.co.za/news/2019-11-22-eleven-blaauwbosch-elephants-relocated-safely-to-new-home/