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Avril was a matriarch elephant at the Addo Elephant Park in South Africa in a large herd originally consisting of 67 elephants.
The area of land around RiverBend Lodge was incorporated into the Addo Elephant National Park in 2004. This area is now known as the Nyathi Concession and is approximately 14,000 hectares in extent. The elephant herd which now wanders the Nyathi Concession was relocated by closing the main road between Addo and Paterson and opening the fences between the two sections – the Addo Elephant National Park and the Nyathi Concession. The herd was merely (although a difficult and well planned and executed process) moved across the road.
Avril died of age in July 2010 with her herd in close proximity. After her death, her herd has been witnessed stopping by the remains, swinging their trunks over the bones in circular fashion and touching them in a blessing-fashion. Some of the younger Elephants attempted to walk past the remains but were immediately prevented from doing so by the older Elephants, and not allowed to move on until they had ‘paid their respects’!
Text: Michael Price
Photo copyright: Lorraine Malherbe