August 2016 – The success of Abu Camp’s elephant reintroduction programme in the Okavango Delta, Botswana continues to thrive with the birth of a new calf to its wild herd. The elephant cow named Nandipa, the first female Abu herd elephant to be introduced into the wild (in 2003), gave birth to her fourth calf born in the wild in June this year.
Abu Camp in Botswana’s Okavango Delta – committed to pioneering elephant conservation
Abu Camp has never lost sight of its vision to return previously captive elephants to the wild, an aspect that forms a key part of the Abu elephant programme. In partnership with renowned NGO, Elephants Without Borders, eight members of the Abu herd (three cows and five bulls) have now been successfully introduced into the Okavango Delta to date under the full support of the Botswana Department of Wildlife and National Parks.
“The ongoing breeding success story of Abu’s wild elephant herd is a testament to the great conservation work being done at Abu Camp”, commented Dr Mike Chase, Director of Elephants Without Borders. “Every wild elephant birth is a cause for celebration, and the fact that these former Abu herd members have mated so consistently shows that the care they received at Abu prepared them well for life in the bush. The Abu wild herd also offers an invaluable research opportunity as part of our ongoing commitment to making Abu Camp a centre of elephant conservation excellence”.
Before being released into the wild, all elephants are fitted with satellite tracking collars and are closely monitored by researchers from Elephants Without Borders. A significant amount of data has been collected, providing vital clues and information about the elephants’ behaviour as they integrate into the broader Botswana elephant community. The bulls tend to wander widely, while Nandipa and the matriarchal herd have mostly settled within the Abu Concession – an area covering 180 000 hectares within the Okavango Delta.
Introducing elephants into the wild not only ensures that they are where they truly belong, but permits studying the movements of individuals, which can elicit fascinating insights into the seasonal travels of the northern Botswana meta-herd of elephants – the largest remaining concentration of pachyderms on Earth. A number of wild elephants have also been fitted with satellite collars so that their movements can be compared to those of the introduced herd members.
Members of the Abu wild herd are frequent visitors to the Camp as they move around this part of the Delta, appearing to take genuine pleasure and pride in introducing their latest offspring to the Abu herd. Each Abu elephant – whether part of the Abu herd or the wild herd – serves as an ambassador for the conservation of their species, spreading their message of hope around the world through the deep and lasting impact they have on everyone who meets them.
For more information on Abu’s wild elephant herd click here, or here for more about Elephants Without Borders.