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Life is a journey, a safari...

Induna, the elephant, is on safari yet again. He embarked on his journey on the 21st of January 2005 from Pongola Game Reserve (PGR) south, to PGR north, into Phongolo Nature Reserve and across Lake Jozini onto the western slopes of the Lebombo mountains. He spent a few days here, browsing with local herdsmen cattle and then moved into Swaziland on Sunday 23 January, via Nsoko and Malomo on to Kubuta.

Induna's life journey began in the Kruger National Park (KNP) about fifty years ago. In 2001 he was darted, captured and relocated to a new game reserve some 40 km south-west of PGR in an effort to alleviate the increasing elephant population pressure on KNP. Now Induna had the "travel bug" and soon after his relocation, he journeyed northeast to PGR accompanied by two male friends relocated with him. The 3 bulls were content for a while to explore the new territory in PGR and the resident elephant herds. But the "travel bug" had bitten. He and one of his friends wandered in and out and back into PGR. During 2003 the" beyond-the-fence territory" beckoned once more and Induna again set out on safari, this time into Swaziland across man-imposed boundaries with his old friend Inkosi. Induna and Inkosi were monitored closely by Space for Elephants (SFE) *.

Inkosi was darted and collared near Big Bend. On waking, Inkosi, together with Induna turned 180 degrees and headed straight back to the safety of PGR territory.

Tragically, on their return to PGR along a precariously high section of the railway line on one of their subsequent safaris, a man made creation…. cost Induna his life long friend - a train hit his old friend. This event curbed Induna's "wanderlust" until last Friday…

We surmise that Induna's "travel bug" has now become a yearning, a longing to return to his roots and find his old friends and families after being on safari for almost 5 years.

Induna's possible last safari is again being monitored closely by SFE. We have realised that man's boundaries cannot curb the instinctual "travel bug" in elephant bulls; for centuries elephants migrated freely across the face of Africa and in doing so have fulfilled important ecological functions. Man tries to keep and manage elephants, own them and put them into man made wildlife pockets but nature and instincts are far stronger and wiser than any man made management - policy or boundary.

We would like to provide Induna with a safe, 'free' journey and hope to use our observations to further research on the "instinctual travel bug" in elephants - if we allow Induna to travel freely to his destination, without human intervention, it may reveal many elephant 'secrets' and provide us with new insight into the world of elephant emotions and instincts.

We need your help - if you see Induna, please contact us with details of his whereabouts and state of being. Induna is an old gentleman. We believe he will not harm any person or their property if he is not persecuted. We appeal to the people not to 'hound' him or behave aggressively towards him. Observe him quietly and keep a good distance. Call us on 092686021272 to tell us where you have spotted Induna on his safari.

Bayete Ndlovu!
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