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Have collar, will travel

Have collar, will travel

Chodobo enjoys some food with his new collar
Chodobo enjoys some food with his new collar
GAME RANGERS INTERNATIONAL

SARAH DAVIES

At nine years old,Chodoba (‘lost and found’ in the local language) is the oldest elephant cared for by the Game Rangers International (GRI) Elephant Orphanage Project in Zambia.

In 2007 Chodobawas found weak and alone in South Luangwa National Parkand has since been cared for and rehabilitated by the team at the Kafue Release Facility. Now that he is nearing maturity, his instincts to wander from his surrogate family are growing and he is spending an increasing amount of time away from his orphan siblings and socializing with wild elephants in Kafue National Park.

Gradually over a number of years maturing elephants will leave the security and comfort of the natal family as they gain confidence and become large enough to defend themselves from predators. In anticipation of his release, Chodoba has been fitted with a GPS tracking collar, which will enable the team to monitor his movements as he spends an increasing amount of time out of sight.

The collarwas funded by Pro Wildlife, a German wildlife charity, and sourced from EcoKnowledge, an Australian company specialising in bio information technologies,which is also supporting the Chodobaeffortwith three years of free satellite downloads.

Zambia Wildlife Authority vet, Dr David Squarre supervised the collar fitting, alongside Dr Ian Parsons of Matobo Vet Centre and John Carter of GRI Kafue Research Project, while pilot Tom Younger donated aircraft transport.

After Chodoba was sedated the collar was fitted, an antidote administered and he was back on his feet within 20 minutes. The collar didn’t seem to bother him and after a few explorations of the device with his trunk, he was avidly concentrating on filling his stomach once more!

This is a major milestone for the GRI Elephant Orphanage Project as it moves towards its first orphan release. The David Shepherd Wildlife Foundationand the International Fund for Animal Welfare both support the project with financial and technical expertise.

Game Rangers International (GRI) works in close collaboration with the Zambia Wildlife Authority and local communities in order to safeguard Zambia's natural heritage for future generations, through five conservation initiatives: -

Elephant Orphanage Project
Kafue Conservation Project
Muzovu Awareness Project
Community Outreach Project
Kafue Research Project

Zambezi Traveller Directory:
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Birds & Birding

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