Tag: wild animal

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Blog 3

Il progetto della riserva di Shongweni era nato come un qualcosa di secondario a cui sia io che Greg ci eravamo ripromessi di dedicare solo un’ora al giorno per eventuali telefonate, sviluppi, mail da scrivere, ma eravamo entrambi d’accordo che non avrebbe rappresentato la nostra priorità.

Tutti bei propositi che sono diventati aria non appena ci siamo piacevolmente scontrati con la realtà di un Inkosi che ora vuole proclamare la sua terra riserva naturale, la realtà della vecchia gestione che a fine giugno 2018 avrebbe terminato il contratto, la realtà delle 10/15 telefonate al giorno con persone di diversi dipartimenti che cercavamo di approcciare per rinforzare il progetto con collaborazioni strategiche. Ormai questo progetto ci stava assorbendo pensieri, energie e tempo.

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captive elephant release
A Journey with Elephants by Greg Vogt – Conservation Guardians
Thandora – Part 9

Our quest was to get her to interact and link up with Bonnie and Thembile, two elephants we released from captivity a few years earlier (mentioned in a previous blog post). The brief encounters Thandora had with the two girls were always in the evening, and were unpleasant. The two girls would attack her, striking her with their tusks and she would flee. During these times I would feel so helpless, when I eventually caught up with her she would come close to the vehicle for protection. These encounters destroyed me emotionally. There are no words to describe her state after these encounters, especially when her distress was tangible with her tremors vibrating through the vehicle as she leaned closer to the vehicle than ever before.

 

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A Journey with Elephants by Greg Vogt – Conservation Guardians
Thandora – part 7

Thandora does not like elephants

Bully lost interest in Thandora after 15 minutes of circling the Boma. Thandora remained motionless during the entire Bully visit and my daughter was most distressed. She simply said to me in her childlike honesty that Thandora did not like elephants. Thandora seemed to be a human in an elephants skin.

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A Journey with Elephants by Greg Vogt – Conservation Guardians
Thandora – part 6

Reserve Life

The holding Boma is situated a few kilometres from the main lodges and within the 11 000 hectare reserve where Thandora was to be released. At this stage I was with Thandora 24/7, and with life returning to normal on the reserve, my support group had whittled down to two reserve staff who relieved me when I needed a break.  My team had whittled away slowly, with the behavioural specialists having left, leaving me alone with her. It was important to have consistency in the staff working with her as we built up to the release date.

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conservation guardians
A Journey with Elephants by Greg Vogt – Conservation Guardians
Thandora – part 5

Who put who to bed?

It was a warm night and the sun set to a kaleidoscope of colours with Thandora setting a lone figure with a backdrop of beautiful mountains. I was checking mails on my phone and drifting off in thought when I felt a thud, and the car jolted and shook. I startled and turned to see that Thandora was leaning against the vehicle, a 4×4. She was using the vehicle as her sleeping pillar. Then she started snoring and I then realised she was just a scared little soul that wanted to be close to another being.

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animal welfare
A Journey with Elephants By Greg Vogt – Conservation Guardians

Chapter 1: The awakening

Thandora – part 3

Moral dilemma

It was at that moment that I knew my life was about to change. The moment I reported that I knew a plan was going down to take young elephants from their mothers to enter the tourism industry, I would be targeted. I knew that at some stage I was going to report the facts that I knew of and that hell would follow this. I would be accused, threatened, and emotionally assaulted by the culprits when they found out that I was the whistleblower.

This one simple example is representative of how some of the places get wild elephants into captive environments.

Not all of them, but some of them.

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elephant in captivity
A Journey with Elephants By Greg Vogt – Conservation Guardians

Chapter 1: The awakening

Thandora

For six years I had been waking up before the sun rose and my day began working with elephants. These were captive elephants, elephants that each had their own story, but no voice to tell this story to the world.

I had however been hearing their story being told by others for fifteen years.

Sadly in the year I was introduced to Thandora I had chosen to step away from working in this industry.

Thandora grazing in the fynbos (Cape Floral Kindom). A beautiful site for us humans to see, but is it really what Thandora wanted? Grazing and browsing for her was hard work for very little reward.

 

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