WAV Comment: The Aspinall Foundation is based in our (England) home county of Kent. There are 2 facilities; which are not ‘zoos’ in the typical sense. Instead, they are breeding facilities with the intention of returning endangered species back to their ‘homelands’; with the hope they will establish new breeding colonies.
This programme to home 13 elephants back to Africa from the UK will be a world first. We watched Damian on the BBC this morning; and the aim is to fly all 13 animals to Africa in one consignment. They have each had a special crate for their journey made, and they have been getting used to entering those over the last few weeks. When loaded; all the crates contain the elephants will be taken to the airport where they will all be loaded onto one single cargo aircraft. Then they will be flown to Africa and the whole process repeated to get them to their new home.
It is a massive logistical task; but we have every confidence that it will go ok.
What a shame that African elephants have to be bred in the UK and then flown to Africa. What a shame that some hunter dickheads pay big bucks to kill the beautiful animals that are already there. But this breeding and rehoming project just shows that there are people and organisations that are better than the hunters. We have supported the Foundation monthly for over 20 years, and when you see this, it shows your monthly donation is being put to good use.
Below I have included a link so that you can see the conservation work the foundation is doing.
As you can see in the videos below, they also specialise in putting Gorillas back into the wild from the facility at Howletts, Kent, England
Herd of 13 elephants to be flown from the UK to Africa in groundbreaking rewilding project (inews.co.uk)
Herd of 13 elephants to be flown from the UK to Africa in ground breaking rewilding project
The ambitious project is the first of its kind in the world
An animal conservation charity is to rewild 13 elephants from the UK to Africa in what will be a world first.
The Aspinall Foundation’s project – the largest it has ever undertaken – will fly the elephants, weighing 25 tonnes, more than 7,000 km (4,350 miles) to their ancestral homelands.
This is the first time that a herd of elephants has ever been rewilded anywhere in the world and no elephant rewilding project of this scale has ever been attempted before.
The logistics of the operation have been described as “huge”.
All of the elephants will be transported on one 777 plane accompanied by a team and vets.
Prior to the journey – which is set to take place next year – the animals will be acclimatised to smaller spaces.
Once the elephants are in Africa, the charity will work with The Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and the Kenya Wildlife Service, to rewild the entire breeding herd of 13 African elephants, including three calves.
At present, the elephants – one of the most successful breeding herds in Europe – are located in an eight-acre enclosure at Howletts Wild Animal Park in Kent.
They comprise two interrelated families but the intention is to rewild them as one larger herd.
Two different sites, both in the south of Kenya, are currently under consideration for the elephants.
The elephants will face new risks not encountered in captivity, such as new diseases and different food, but The Aspinall Foundation says its experience of rewilding projects will help guide the animals’ transition.
As will The Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, which has been at the forefront of African elephant conservation for more than four decades and provided a “wild future” to more than 260 rescued orphans and operated projects to ensure they and their families are protected throughout their lives.
The Aspinall Foundation hopes the project will have a positive effect in the zoo industry by discouraging the trade in elephants and bolster commitment to returning animals to the wild, where possible.
It also hopes to prove that proving such a project can be done will encourage zoos to do the same.
The public can support the project by donating through its JustGiving page.
Damian Aspinall, Chairman of The Aspinall Foundation, said: “This is an incredibly exciting project and a genuine world-first.
“As with any conservation project of this magnitude, there are obviously big risks, but we consider them well worth it to get these magnificent elephants back into the wild where they belong.
“By supporting the project, members of the public will be part of conservation history, helping to restore an iconic species to its ancestral homeland.
“If this is successful, I would love to see elephants held in captivity all over the world be rewilded too.”
For more information, or to donate to the project, visit justgiving.com/campaign/backtothewild