What’s up my friends!
This post today is all about the heaviest land mammal on earth.
Did you know that the biggest translocation of elephants in human history is happening right now as we speak!?
500 elephants are being moved in Malawi from one national park to another.
But how do you move such a ginormous pachiderm? Let alone 500???
Well watch the awesome video below, and you’ll see! Even Prince Harry is part of it, you know that guy from the UK!
Another video, with the dude from the UK 😉
Awesome videos right!?
I still get the chills thinking about them.
Work like this IS possible for you too!
One of my friends, who graduated one year before me, was part of this translocation of 500 elephants! She’s a bit like you and I, extremely passionate about wildlife, adventurous and a little animal crazy.
In the next blog posts I want to show you a couple ways to get opportunities like this yourself. So definitely keep an eye out for them, so you don’t miss any! Join the newsletter and I’ll notify you when it’s live!
Now if you are interested in the veterinary side of moving a boatload of elephants like this, then read on!
Watch the video to learn more about the science
Cooler than the cool side of the pillow!
Darting wild elephants is dangerous!
When feeling threatened, elephants can serve nasty blows, trample you or crush even the biggest Land Rovers. Only just recently a Belgian biologist got trampled and died by an elephant in Congo while on a patrol mission in the rainforest…
So caution is always advised when dealing with these otherwise gentle giants, unless you want to be as water level as an Oreo biscuit.
Now the science geeks among us may be wondering what it is that we use to throw down such a big mammal!
Well excellent question. The drug of choice for this is Etorphine.
It’s a drug that is 1500x stronger than morphine.. so you can imagine how strong it is! One teeny-weeny drop can kill a person in 1-2 minutes. So always be careful when you’re handling those darts!
The vets top this up with azaperone and hyaluronidase, to allow a smooth immobilisation. Usually the elephant will go down in about 4-11 minutes.
Here are 3 crucial things for you when joining your first elephant translocation:
- Eles can’t breath through their mouths so make sure it is always free. Stick a little branch in the ele’s trunk to keep air flowing and make sure it isn’t under any body part. Breathing should always be >5/minute.
- Put the ears over the eyes asap to keep the elephant calm.
- Treat dart wound with udder tube or antibiotic spray to prevent abscesses, which eles are quite susceptible to.
- Do this, and soar like an eagle with a boss face!
In the video the man talks about tranquilizers to keep the elephants calm on their journey, my best bet is that they used the following three:
- Azaperone, works 2-6 hours.
- Zuclopentixol, works 3 days.
- Perphenazine, works 7 days.
For wake-up vets use a combination of diprenorphine and naltrexone, which takes about 4 minutes before the elephant is up.
Once the antidote is given get to a safe distance pronto! You don’t want an angry drowsey elephant charging at you, plus they tend to grab people with their trunks when they wake up.
Voila! Now you know what to do when someone asks you to dart an elephant 😉
Notes of a vet:
- Elephants resemble the gut of a horse pretty well. They both are monogastric and have a large colon and caecum. This is why it is ok for elephants to lie on their sides or on their backs when you need to translocate them or perform a surgical procedure. This is similar for the rhino, but in contrast to all ruminants!
- Here is a rule of thumb in wildlife: hindgut fermenters (elephants, rhinos, horses, etc) may lie on their side or back. Foregut (rumen) fermenters (buffalo, antelope, deer, cattle, etc) should lie sternally, or they can develop rumen function impairment or aspiration pneumonia.
Alright this is what I have for you today my gorgeous friend, hope you like it!
Peace, I am off buying a wheelchair for my grandpa now.
Questions, comments, improvements or a pink pigeon? Put them in the comment section below, or shoot me an email! I read and reply to every single one of them!