The orphaned elephants are fitted with a GPS tracking collar when they begin to show signs of increasing independence from the Orphan Herd and Wildlife Rangers.
Vincent Abre, GRI's Post Release Monitoring Coordinator, uses computer technology to track the elephants that have become independent from the herd and to monitor their movements.
"The goal of post release monitoring tracking is to determine the success of the rehabilitation process in returning orphaned elephants back to the wild."
The tracking data will inform us of their survival rates in the wild, seasonal movement patterns, behaviours, home ranges, how they are selecting and using the different habitats and feeding & activity patterns.
The data will tell us whether the released elephants become involved in human elephant conflicts and how we can plan and respond to those conflict situations. For example, through the use of geofences to inform where orphans are leaving the park, and targeting them directly through active HEC (human elephant conflict) patrols.
The data will also inform us whether the released orphans successfully integrate into wild elephant herds or if they form their own orphan herd. Tracking data will be used to evaluate the short- and long-term survival of the released orphans, individual welfare and potential contributions to the wild population.
Contributors: Vincent Abre (Post Release Monitoring Coordinator)