Narissa Subramoney
Copy rewriter
2 minute read
7 Nov 2021
2:56 pm

Aquila welcomes two new elephants in Western Cape

Narissa Subramoney

Aquila is now the first game reserve in 270 years to reintroduce the big five to the Cape after colonial hunters shot and killed most species.

Cape Town’s Big Five Aquila Game Reserve has welcomed two young 14-year-old elephants as part of a relocation program in the Western Cape.

The Big Five Aquila Private Game Reserve has been steadily increasing its herd sizes and enhancing its conservation programmes.

Aquila is now the first Western Cape private game reserve in 270 years to reintroduce the big five to the Cape after colonial hunters shot and killed most of these species in the Western Cape.

Aquila owner Searl Derman said the elephant translocation was a mammoth task and expressed the excitement of the reserve’s teams in the successful release of these elephants at Aquila.

“No expense was spared to ensure a team of researchers, vets and conservation staff kept a keen eye on the process while monitoring the behaviour,” said Derman.

One of the new elephants introduced at Aquila was orphaned and rehabilitated before being reintroduced to the wild.

Aquila Welcomes Two New Elephants in Western Cape. Picture: Supplied.

“Being born in captivity, the other elephant offers the conservation teams a great research opportunity, observing it now, roaming free, alongside the other Big five and wildlife on the reserve,” said Derman.
 
According to the team overseeing the translocation and introduction, Aquila is the ideal home and place for the two elephants, because they can now settle, and live a comfortable free-roaming life with other wildlife species.
 
But the release and introduction weren’t completely without incident. One of the elephant’s had a standoff with a rhino.

“After a big display of mock charging, trumpeting and ear flapping, both parties walked away uninjured and happy,” said Derman.
 
The elephants spent their first day exploring their new home and interacting curiously with the other wildlife.

Derman described the meeting between the reserve’s animals and the elephants as a “beautiful moment as they humbly greeted each other and immediately bonded”.
 
The on-site research team confirmed that the introduction of the elephants went better than they expected and added this had been one of the “best releases” they had witnessed.
 
Aquila has a strict “no touch and interaction” policy and guests will only be able to see these majestic animals while on a game drive in the 10 000 hectare conservancy.

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