Addo's Elephants

Sat, 12/27/2008 - 4:00pm

Standing with Addo cows and proudly showing his big tusks, this is one of the bulls brought from the Kruger National Park in a bid to boost the Addo gene pool, and hopefully bring back tusks.

© 2006 Maximedia Pty., Ltd

One of the greatest animal sanctuaries in the world, South Africa’s Addo Elephant National Park, is the home of some of the most remarkable animals on earth—an ever-growing, majestic herd of massive savannah elephants that has amazed and delighted tourists for decades. Addo's Elephants airs Saturday, December 27 at 4 p.m. on WXXI-TV 21 (cable 11) and WXXI-HD (cable 1011 and DT 21.1).

How the elephants came to survive and prosper in Addo is one of the most significant stories in animal conservation history, a story told in the new documentary Addo's Elephants. Once hunted to near extinction, and saved by the determined work of a few early conservationists, Addo's Elephants is a heartwarming tale of survival.

Prized by Europeans for their rich ivory tusks, elephants became one of the prominent targets of big-game hunters in the 18th and 19th century. By 1900, most of Africa’s elephant population was killed off. The lone survivors—a herd of about 140 savannah elephants—moved into a grove known as the Addo bush, where they were hunted by local farmers angry at the beasts for pilfering from their orange trees. Eventually, with the help of a courageous local farmer, 17 elephants survived the hunt, and international pressure helped to establish the natural sanctuary for the elephants. Now, seven decades later, more than 350 descendants of those survivors live and thrive in Addo, and the natural park has become one of the leading tourist safari destinations in the world. 

Filmed on location over a four-year period, Addo's Elephants is a fascinating look at the lives of these magnificent animals, using recently-unearthed archival footage from the National Park and first-hand accounts from researchers, zookeepers, and game wardens. Heartwarming and inspirational, Addo's Elephants is a unique nature documentary you’ll never forget.