The operation begins with helicopters. They need to first locate the animals, then herd them into an area where the trucks can gain access. A ground support vehicle which is just out of sight, will be ready to step in once darting is completed, in order to ensure that any falling animals are kept safe.

You can see here, the matriarch is defending the herd. Ensuring that she is darted first is vital to the success of the operation. Once she is down the other elephants will gather around her, which makes them easier to dart.

Notice the prepared darts on the back seat, in different sizes to suit each elephant.

Once ready, it is the role of the vet to line up the darting rifle and take aim.

As soon as the matriarch is down the rest of the herd stops moving. One by one the elephants are darted. Notice the ground team zooming in to ensure the elephants’ safety.

Remember that these are wild animals, so encounters like this have to be handled with great sensitivity and care. Despite coming from different organisations, the teams work as one highly trained crew. Their top priorities are ensuring the safety of all involved and making sure the animals are cared for throughout the process and put under as little stress as possible.