The Aspinall Foundation recently welcomed a Kenyan delegation to discuss the charity’s project to reintegrate thirteen elephants from the United Kingdom into a natural, wild, secure area in Kenya.  A delegation, headed by the Cabinet Secretary Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife, Hon. Najib Balala, Kenya Wildlife Services Director General Brigadier (Rtd) John Waweru and Director of Strategy Edwin Wanyonyi visited Howletts Wild Animal Park where the elephants currently live.  

A series of comprehensive Ecological Assessments and Environmental and Social Impact Assessments have been conducted by the Wildlife Research and Training Institute in Kenya to select the perfect destination for the reintegration and rewilding process for the elephants.  The Golini-Mwaluganje Community Wildlife Conservancy has been selected as the preferred site.

The thirteen elephants are currently undergoing a travel habituation process.  Only once all the Kenyan requirements are completed and the UK elephant carers are satisfied that the elephants are fully prepared, will the translocation take place. A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed between The Aspinall Foundation, Kenya Wildlife Service, Wildlife Research and Training Institute, the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and the Golini-Mwaluganje Community Wildlife Conservancy.

The Communities who own the conservancy where the elephants will be released are elated about the project and feel that this will make a significant difference to the sustainability of their reserve’.

Four of the elephants at Howletts Park Image Credit: Howletts Park

On Monday 20th of June 2022, an application to the High Court of South Africa in the Gauteng Division, Pretoria, was lodged to release three elephants known as Lammie, Mopane and Ramadiba from the Johannesburg Zoo into a rewilding facility.

These elephants are currently being held in conditions unsuited to their basic needs. The application is brought by Animal Law Reform South Africa (ALRSA), the EMS Foundation and Chief Stephen Fritz, represented by the environmental law firm, Cullinan and Associates, against the Johannesburg City Parks and Zoo (JCPZ), and other governmental respondents involved with the Zoo.

This is a ground-breaking case, which is also a South African first, where a legal remedy is being sought to have these elephants released to live out the remainder of their lives in a natural environment and where the conditions are commensurate with the innate needs and nature of Elephants. 

Ramadiba, Mopane and Lammie at the Johannesburg Zoo Image Credit: ©EMS Foundation 2022.

On the 16th of December 2020, Members of PREN wrote a letter to Minister Barbara Creecy, the Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment in South Africa, asking her to release Charlie, the solitary bull elephant living at the National Zoological Gardens in South Africa.  

After nineteen months of negotiations, the South African National Biodiversity Institute announced the decision on the 29th of July 2022, to pursue options for retirement of Charlie to a suitable wild environment.  

Charlie at the Pretoria Zoo Image Credit: ©EMS Foundation 2022.

On the 8th of January 2021, the members of PREN requested urgent medical veterinary assistance for four African elephants who are residents at the Karachi Safari Park and Zoo in Karachi in Pakistan.  

Advocate Owais Awan, a PREN member, filed a petition with the Pakistan Animal Welfare Society to the Hon’ble Sindh High Court in Karachi. This petition resulted in access being granted to the wildlife veterinary experts Dr Amir Khalil, Dr Frank Goertiz, Professor Thomas Hilderbrant and Dr Marina Invanova and Four Paws International, to treat the four elephants. This treatment is ongoing.

Four Paws treating the four elephants in Karachi Zoo and Karachi Safari Park Image Credit: Four Paws