Of all the animals in the area, the elephant is one that isn’t shy about travelling long distances in order to find itself a happy place. And it is usually the males that will break off from the herd and go on an epic adventure, and since the Kruger is a more open area these days, what with the open border policy for migrating wildlife allowing animals to move around a little more freely.
Recently, 11 male elephants caught the attention of wildlife enthusiasts and researchers alike. Travelling across three countries, these elephants have now walked a total of 700km and have now reached the Kruger National Park.
The first elephant, named Trailblazer (for obvious reasons) set foot into the Kruger on the 10th of May, entering the Park through the southern boundary.
Initially, the elephants started out in the Southern part of Mozambique and then made their way through Eswatini and then into Mpumalanga. Of the 11, one was injured, and the group that has been tracking their progress, Elephants Alive, is appealing to everyone entering the Kruger to be on the lookout for the group.
There is a concern that the elephants might need to be herded by helicopter should something go wrong or should they be separated while they continue to travel further into the park. As the elephants get closer to the Kruger’s fences, they will now be given access to the park, and officials have said that they might even have to lower the fences of the park to allow the elephants in.
Trailblazer was the first to start looking for a Kruger entry point while the others walked off into three neighbouring properties.
For the most part, their journey has been without any problems. Even though the team travelled through areas inhabited by people, and took sugar cane from a couple of farms, they did not hurt anyone and were left alone to carry on their mission.
Those who have been observing the group agree that their courage and their show of friendship is inspiring, especially given the times that we are living in.
Why do elephants migrate?
There are two main reasons why elephants migrate and you will find that they usually make their migration a seasonal habit. Migration is usually something they do when in search for water or for a new source of food. After that, the other reason why elephants hit the road, is because they find that their habitats are being encroached upon by humans and they don’t have anywhere else to go.
Elephants are also known for migrating when they sense danger. There has been a number of times throughout history when elephants have communicated with one another to warn each other, and to even share the herd’s history. It is not exactly known how they are able to do this, but there have been examples when elephants in an area have remembered a dangerous encounter with humans and have as a result avoided interactions.