Song of the Lost Clan Information and Resources on the Young Adult Novel

Based on Fact

The Real Story

Song of the Lost Clan was based on an event that happened in the 1980’s. Thanks to its conservation efforts, South Africa’s elephant population outgrew the lands designated for them. Fearing that the vegetation would be stripped, Kruger National Park relocated a number of elephants to Pilanesberg Park. At the time, it was impossible to move the huge adults, so they decided to kill them and move the smaller, adolescents and juveniles. While the experts expected that the young elephants might have problems adjusting, they didn’t see an alternative.

By 1996, those orphans, having grown up with no adults to guide them and teach them proper elephant behavior, turned into troubled teens. The rampaging adolescents beat and even killed rhinos, tore apart trees, and acted aggressively toward tourists. A male ring-leader named Mafuta even turned a herd into a street gang with him as the leader.

After studying the problem, the people at Pilanesberg tried one last plan to keep from having to kill any more the elephants. In 1998, they brought in some even larger bull elephants in specially designed trucks. It was the first time anyone had ever tried to move elephants that big before. The older elephants quickly established a hierarchy which suppressed the young male elephants’ testosterone.

Experts compared it to a group of acting up teens suddenly facing their fathers. The ploy worked.

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