A herd of elephants born and raised in a Kent zoo are about to get on a plane to travel almost 7,000km to Kenya, in order to reintroduce them to the wild in a first-of-its kind operation. The herd of 13, which includes three calves, were all but one born at Howletts Wild Animal Park, a private zoo near Canterbury. The mammoth mission to “rewild” the elephants is being carried out by the Aspinall Foundation, the Kenya Wildlife Service and Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. Although travel arrangements for the elephants are yet to be confirmed, the animals will probably travel fully conscious in transportation crates in a large aircraft, with help from South African specialists in elephant transportation. The elephants will spend time in the crates ahead of the journey, in order to get used to the spaces and reduce stress during the flight. They will be continuously monitored by a team of vets. When they get to Kenya, the savannah elephants, the endangered but most common African elephant species, will be held in an enclosure for six months so conservationists can monitor their reaction to the different climate and diseases.
SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN