It seems like the plot of a Hollywood movie or maybe a Pixar animation, yet actually, it really happened in the plains of Zululand. No this was not the script of the next Madagascar movie, this herd of wild elephants really did make a raid on an enclosure. They orchestrated a great escape for a group of antelope, who had been captured by the rangers.
In 2003, a conservation team captured a group of antelope in Empangeni, Zululand to take part in a special breeding programme. The herd was put in an enclosure for the night before they were going to be transported to their new location. Conversionist Lawrence Anthony advised during the day they had spotted a herd of 11 elephants coming ever closer, yet they believed this was due to the food they were using to attract the antelopes.
They circled the enclosure looking on for some time and then seemed to walk off. The daring elephants were just waiting for the cover of night to hatch there plan. Once everyone was settled in for the night, that is when the elephants decided to come in and take a much closer look. The matriarch known as Nana looked closely at the gates and then began to check the latches with her trunk.
Quickly she had opened all the gates of the enclosure and proceeded to swing the gates open. But instead of running in and eating the food, the herd of elephants stood back and let the antelopes run out! It was a rescue mission. The herd looked on as the antelopes galloped off into the night, and ignored the food completely. They then proceeded to walk off into the night themselves, probably feeling quite proud of the success of their mission.
Anthony later noted the next few days will be exhausting as they will need to recapture the antelope for their breeding programme, however, the chance to see such an unusual interaction between species made it worth the effort. Let’s just hope that Nana does not come back.