Elephants rescued by helicopter ?? – Equator from the Air – BBC

Elephants rescued by helicopter ?? – Equator from the Air – BBC

Marc Goss is CEO and pilot
for the Mara Elephant Project, an organisation that supports
conservation by deploying rangers. Across this huge territory,
a helicopter is by far the best way to protect elephants
and other wildlife. One herd has been attacked nearby. As farmers tried
to protect their crops, an adult elephant was hit
by an arrow. In the two jeeps, a team of vets has come to treat
the injured animal. To sedate it, they need to dart the
elephant with a tranquiliser gun… ..but the herd is retreating
into the bush. OK, we’re just flying
right above this herd. Got a glimpse of
the elephant that’s injured, but what we’re trying to do is push
them out of the thicket so that… ..they can get a clear view of them, a clear shot of the elephant
that needs the help. In emergencies like this, the
helicopter comes into its own… ..as the noise helps to drive
the elephants into the open. Marc and I join the team
on the ground, led by Dr Limo. We’ve got a clear shot of it. Right in the open. OK, he’s got the dart.
He’s got the dart in now. The injured elephant takes
refuge amongst the herd… ..but minutes later,
the tranquiliser takes effect. To safely give the elephant
the care she needs, the rangers are trying to keep
the rest of the herd away… ..but that’s easier said than done. Elephants are highly social
creatures with strong bonds. We’re just trying to scare off
the other elephant. It’s really reluctant to leave. It just shows you how… ..compassionate elephants are, that despite we’ve got three
vehicles trying to chase it away, it just doesn’t want to leave. Now she’s fully sedated,
Dr Limo can treat her. There’s just one wound on her,
bang in the middle of her side. Obviously she’s a big target. It’s gory stuff, but while
she’s under, she’ll feel no pain. These arrows would have been
attached to a long shaft, but obviously once they’ve hit and the elephant’s running through
the bush, the wooden part of it’s come off. OK. Wow. Look at this. Look, it’s got
all those barbs, huh? Wow. So that wasn’t going to come out
unless… Yeah. ..we pulled it out. Yeah. That’s an evil one, that.
Isn’t it? Jeez. Weapons like this do
real damage… ..but for the farmers
who fired this arrow, elephants are a threat
to their livelihood. To them, this was pure survival.
An act of self-defence. There was a time when
none of this was necessary because there was enough space
for people and there was enough space
for elephants. Big migratory animals
need a lot of space… ..and we are robbing that space
from elephants. That’s how the conflict arises. And this is life for elephants
living in this part of Africa. Yeah, she’s already
kind of starting to come to. There was a flap of the ears,
her trunk twitched. It’s unbelievable, really. Amazing that in under 45 minutes
you can sedate an elephant, treat it and get it
back on its feet. So it’s very, very impressive. That was quick. Yeah. As the elephant rejoins her herd,
another call comes in. It’s all just…
all just kicked off. There is a baby elephant
with a snare on its trunk. So I’m going to go with Marc and
try and get the snare off the baby. With more people living
in the Mara, there’s also been an increase in
the amount of poaching for bushmeat. Simple looped wire snares are used to catch anything
from wildebeest to warthogs. But elephants can also get trapped. They do a lot of snaring
that cut trunks off elephants. So, especially down on the border
where we get a lot of snaring, you find elephants
with short trunks. But that’s really a crime,
in many cases, of poverty, so they don’t have
the alternative income, so they resort to
a life of poaching. We arrive to find
the calf still has a snare caught tightly around its mouth. It’s vital we remove it
as quickly as possible. It’s hard to see a calf
in so much distress… ..but he’ll only survive
if the team can treat him. We’re just on the ground. We’re trying to get the wire off
without having to sedate… ..sedate the calf. The calf is just a year old and the team know that
if they sedate him, he could have trouble
finding his mother again. To increase his chances of survival, the team needs to
keep him conscious and restrain him while
the snare is removed. It may look brutal,
but these are trained experts, who have done this
many times before. Thankfully there’s a Leatherman
in there, and it’s very sharp and it’s just able to snip
one bit of the wire, bit-by-bit. There we go. There we go. ELEPHANT GROANS All off? All off? They’ve washed out the wound. I can’t show you this
in any detail cos it’s too… ..it’s too mad. ELEPHANT GROWLS ELEPHANT GROANS Snare injuries are often fatal… ..but thanks to
a speedy aerial response, the prospects this time look good. The calf is on its feet,
on its way… ..a million times
better off than it was… ..ten minutes ago. This calf got lucky and was later
reunited with his mother… ..but the only thing that will stop
this happening to elephants is an improvement in
living standards for the people who share this land. Hopefully, as education
and job prospects improve, this kind of hunting
will happen less. Until then, the aerial patrol
is a valuable resource.


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