Thula Thula launch elephant contraception

2013-05-03 09:08
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Photos: Thula Thula Private Game Reserve

Close encounters of the elephant kind at the Thula Thula Private Game Reserve leave you feeling rejuvenated.

Pietermaritzburg - Thula Thula Private Game Reserve in KwaZulu Natal is to implement a reversible elephant contraception programme that will allow controlled breeding within the reserve's herd.

The elephants of Thula Thula rose to world fame when late conservationist and game reserve owner, Lawrence Anthony, wrote the best-selling book ‘The Elephant Whisperer' about the formerly problematic herd's tumultuous arrival and acclimitisation to the reserve. 

Tragically, Lawrence passed away in 2012, but his legacy lives on in this famous elephant family whose population has today grown to twenty-four strong.

A draw card to Thula Thula for visitors from around the world, the once doomed ‘Herd' now happily roams the rugged Zululand bush veld. Keeping their numbers in check to ensure a healthy eco-system within the reserve is of paramount importance to Lawrence's widow, Francoise Anthony. With a record three calves born in 2012 alone, Thula Thula is determined to maintain a healthy equilibrium within their herd and the reserve's natural biosphere, by controlling elephant numbers.

The contraception project will be conducted in conjuction with veterinarian, Mike Toft, and wildlife consultant, David Bozas.

Until recently, culling elephants was one of the few options available to curbing elephant numbers, but now a contraceptive pill, derived from pig's ovaries, has proved to be effective.

Other medical intervention from the reserve's team has already proved successful in reducing an aggressive male's abnormally high testosterone levels, which has saved the bull from being euthanised. 

"If we can intervene while still preserving the elephants' lives, we will have fulfilled Lawrence's legacy. He believed all animals had a right to life and we will carry this forward," Francoise said in a statement issued by the reserve.

Read more on:    animals  |  travel south africa

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