By Rebecca Drew
MIND-BLOWING images have revealed 8,000-pound African elephants being lifted by a crane after escaping from their reserve.
The breath-taking shots show the herd of 10-foot-tall creatures being lifted by their feet after being tranquilised and carefully placed on the back of a transporter truck to take them back to the reserve they call home.
In one image, the elephants can be seen taking their first steps after waking up.
The impressive pictures were taken in Southern Africa by conservation photographer Pete Oxford (58) from Torquay, UK. To take his pictures Pete used a Nikon camera.
“I was invited as part of the capture team to document the capture and relocation of the escaped elephants,” said Pete.
“My pictures show the incredible dedication of conservationists at work to help save elephants which is an incredible feat.
“It is not every day that you see live elephants hanging upside-down from a crane.
“It was physically demanding work, while in the chopper during darting, the challenge was to get shots while not getting in the way of the pilot. It was pretty hairy flying.”
Elephants are under increasing threat by poachers from the ivory trade and habitat from growing people population. According to Defenders, there are an estimated 450, 000 – 700, 000 African elephants in the world today.
“This photography brings to the public the need for conservation and reiterates the immense costs that are often involved,” explained Pete.
“Our wildlife and wilderness areas do not come free, we all have to do our bit to look after them, whether in Africa or your own back yard.”