Transporting wild animals over long distances is a tricky exercise, with no guarantee that all of the animals will survive the experience. So, the greatest hope for any translocated animal is that it is safe in its new environment. This will allow it to settle well, find a mate and grow the population of the species. This enriches and helps to balance the ecosystem. Adding cheetah, for example, into Maputo Special Reserve, is historic because these are the first introduced predators. They are needed to control the numbers of the growing prey population and to ensure its genetic strength, which will help keep the ecosystem vibrant.

Once animals are released into their new environments, the translocation team’s work is, by and large, done. Most of the work from here on in is now down to the animal. It is wild, after all. It has to discover its new territory, find food and hopefully breed. However, Peace Parks and partners does help the process along. By fitting collars on the translocated animals and assigning a team to check on them for at least six months, any issues can show up early and assistance can be mobilised. If an animal gets close to a boundary, João and the rest of the management team in the park or reserve receive an alert on their phones. They are then ready to take action if the animal strays out of safe territory. Further to this, anti-poaching teams offer ongoing protection to the animals in the reserves. Every small action taken means a more hopeful future for every animal.

Translocations epitomise hope. At each and every stage there is so much that can go wrong. And, sometimes it does. So every single translocated animal, large or small, that survives in its new home is a win. Not only does it bring a huge sigh of relief to those involved in rewilding Africa, but also a tiny seed of hope. Each animals carries the hopes of all involved, for a richer environment, a more balanced ecosystem, a future landscape that accommodates both humankind and wildlife.

Peace Parks would like to make a special thanks to all those who have been involved in translocations this year. This includes the wildlife veterinarians, the pilots, the ground teams, everyone at HQ, the institutions, governments, officials, partners, corporations and of course, the generous donors, without whom none of what you have seen would be possible.