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Helping to remove an elephant's collar!

We went to bed last night with a big smile thanks to the exciting opportunity we had yesterday to help Marataba Management remove a collar from a female elephant! Her satellite/VHF collar had stopped working so the park manager and vet decided to remove it rather than leave it. Once the cow had had her collar removed, we then helped relocate two buffalos and a roan antelope. Another full and exciting day!
Everything was professionally carried out and everything went well. We watched the helicopter hovering above the elephant herd, spot the cow, dart her and after about ten minutes she was finally sleeping. We then rolled her over on the flank to allow her to breath better and put a small stick in her trunk to allow the nasal passage to remain opened. One person on rotation was constantly checking her breathing while everyone else was able to admire the pachyderm and touch her too. It is impressive to feel such a soft/rough skin, in part covered with very long and strong hair. The trunk is very soft, being full of muscles; the ears are very soft, almost like "pancakes" and have a lot of capillary veins. Inside the mouth the vet also showed us the Jacobson's organ! A tiny little hole on the palate!
The collar itself took around ten minutes to be taken out as the bolts were very tight after years of being on the elephant. The collar of the elephant is placed around the neck and it weights quite a lot! The tusks of the elephant were very very smooth due to the continue usage while feeding and de-barking of trees.
This experience has been awesome and we would like to thank the Marataba Management for allowing us to help them during the process! We are part of a very big conservation project and working with such inspiring and competent people with years of experience who appreciate our work is the best reward we could ask for. Of course thank you for the volunteers for their help and for the patience of waiting under the sun for one hour! The bush is not in a hurry and is always unpredictable!