Tokkie Botes, a pilot and conservationist has helped rescue a young elephant that had somehow managed to get its head stuck with a tyre.
Tokkie is a Pilot for Flying for Freedom which is a non-profit organisation (NGO). The NGO works actively in conservation of animals and was recently requested by the North West Department of Economic Development, Environment, Conservation and Tourism (DEDECT) to help a young elephant which was found with a tyre wedged around its head. This was spotted at the Rietfontein Game Ranch near Zeerust.
Veterinarian, Dr Paul Bartels and Tokkie decided to respond as they heard the news and took off in Tokkie's helicopter to help the rangers from Madikwe Game Reserve in finding the elephant.
Dumisa Seshabela, spokesperson for DEDECT stated-"Community members alerted the department of the elephant with the tyre around its head and a coordinated effort was made to find the animal"
She added that, "The elephant was undoubtedly in a lot of discomfort. The elephant was found fairly easily based on the last reported sightings from the community. Once darted, it was determined that it was a teenage male, and the team worked quickly to remove the tyre.”
She said that "Landowners often use tyres to prevent erosion and it is suspected that the young elephant could have picked one up out of curiosity, and it slipped down its trunk, getting wedged over its mouth."
“The operation was completed in a matter of hours, thanks to the efficient and specialist expertise of our members and the airborne team that waived their fees as this was a genuine conservation effort,” Seshabela said.
It is such acts of humanity that brings together nature and humans which is not different from each other yet perceived as greater. Tokkie is an example that humanity has not shed away. Thanks to the rangers and everybody who was involved in the rescue operation, the young elephant was freed which if had not been done could have resulted in serious consequences.