This is the most exciting, and nerve-racking part of any translocation. Releasing the elephant is a huge moment for everyone. When the truck backs up to the pre-prepared release site and the doors of the truck open, it is the tensest moment of the whole operation. Are they all safe and in good condition is front of mind.

The first elephant looks out, takes a moment and then steps out into her new home, Zinave National Park. The others stick close by and follow her out.

In female herds it is always the matriarch who leads the family group. The others rely on her to lead them in tricky situations. For example, its she who leads them to clean water in the dry season or to safe river crossing points. Her job is to ensure that the future generations survive. So, in this situation they stick close, following her every move. What’s incredible is that when elephant are released, somehow other elephant in the reserve seem to know. They will begin to move towards the release site and wait for the new elephant to show themselves. Elephants have long memories and this is so clear in these moments when ancient family ties bring herds together after years of separation. What amazing animals they are!