Our man on the ground had a long, face-to-face conservation with the man in charge of the 80 elephants who the Republic of South Africa has approved to be killed if they are not moved from their present location.
We learned that these elephants are considered government assets of South Africa and must be released as assets before we can assume “ownership” of them. This process and several other similar red tape matters will require time, application submissions and approvals.
Then there is the matter of determining precisely where they will be relocated within the new country that has expressed interest in accepting them. Once this has been confirmed, we must travel there to conduct an on-the-ground inspection to ensure it will provide the adequate availability of water and food, and that this heard of 80 will be safe in their new home. Next is the implementation of the transport plan. This involves darting them with tranquilizers and hosting them onto trucks.
The good news is that we have more time than first suspected. We will most likely move them in May of 2018 at the beginning of the South Africa winter when the cooler weather will reduce their stress and trauma.
This may sound as though we are, now, not in a hurry. Yet, the critical path of this rescue will demand every day of planning between the present date and next May. Indeed, this is still an urgent matter.
There is much more detail I have not discussed here. So, as one can imagine, a considerable amount of thoughtful planning among qualified professionals is perquisite to this operation. Nonetheless, we are confident that we will succeed.