Conservationists in Africa came up with a genius way to save elephants: move them.

Human beings haven't always been the best of friends to elephants.

Photo by Brian Snelson/Flickr.


While we've written some of our most delightful children's books about them...

We've done OK by Babar. Photo by Jean de Brunhoff/Wikimedia Commons.

...we've also poached them for centuries, destroyed their habitats, and generally been pretty bad at sharing our planet with them.

Illegal ivory sits in a storeroom in Kenya. Photo by Carl de Souza/Getty Images.

Recently, conservationists in Malawi decided to tranquilize 500 elephants, pick them up by their hind legs, and drive them almost 200 miles across bumpy savannah on the back of a truck. And while it might look like yet another attempt to mess with these gentle creatures...

Photo by Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi/AP.

...it actually might be the nicest thing we've done for elephants in quite some time.

While the task was anything but nice, the goal was simple: to relocate the animals from two Malawi national parks where they're (relatively) plentiful to a park with more room and, thereby, more safety for the elephants.

"This is very much the way that we'll have to manage things in the future," Craig Reid, manager of the country's Liwonde National Park, told The Associated Press.

According to the AP, who embedded with the team, the project is one of the largest-ever and most logistically complicated relocations of its kind.

Similar moves have been made before, but few have been attempted with so many animals.

Moving the elephants required enlisting a fleet of helicopters, cranes, and trucks as well as a team of dedicated pilots, drivers, and conservationists to manage the creatures as they made their way across the country.

It's the latest attempt to give these giant, emotionally complex animals a chance to recover.

An elephant strides around Kenya. Photo by Tony Karumba/Getty Images.

African elephants — highly social creatures who have been shown to react to each other's pain, soothe suffering friends, and even grieve for their dead — used to number in the millions, but rampant hunting has caused their population decline over decades — by as much as 80% in some areas.

More recently, increases in demand for ivory has led to a surge in poaching, and human encroachment is always a threat.

The World Wildlife Fund estimates their numbers today at approximately 470,000.

Project managers are prioritizing moving the elephants with their families.

An elephant mother with her calf at the London Zoo. Photo by Adrien Dennis/Getty Images.

According to conservationists on the team, keeping mothers and calves together is key to the success of the relocation because elephants, like humans, form tight familial bonds.

Relocating hundreds of the huge creatures is challenging, and there are potential drawbacks.

Some conservationists worry that mass artificial migration could facilitate the spread of disease, and being handled by humans with giant cranes can, understandably, stress out the animals.

But if the end result is more elephants, many experts believe it's a chance worth taking.

Photo by Lucas Schulze/Getty Images.

WWF African species manager Bas Huijbregts told the AP that the relocation project would be "a win-win for elephants and people" and hopes that it "will likely become the new norm in many places in Africa."

The best part? We get to brag about doing the elephants a solid for once.

It may not look like it.

Photo by Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi/AP.

But one day, they'll totally appreciate us for it.

Photo by Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi/AP.

Maybe.

Lainey and baby goat Annie. Photo courtesy of Lainey Morse
True

Oftentimes, the journey to our true calling is winding and unexpected. Take Lainey Morse, who went from office manager to creator of the viral trend, Goat Yoga, thanks to her natural affinity for goats and throwing parties.

Back in 2015, Lainey bought a farm in Oregon and got her first goats who she named Ansel and Adams. "Once I got them, I was obsessed," says Lainey. "It was hard to get me off the farm to go do anything else."

Right away, she noticed what a calming presence they had. "Even the way they chew their cud is relaxing to be around because it's very methodical," she says. Lainey was going through a divorce and dealing with a rheumatoid arthritis diagnosis at the time, but even when things got particularly hard, the goats provided relief.

"I found it impossible to be stressed or depressed when I was with them."

She started inviting friends up to the farm for what she called "Goat Happy Hour." Soon, the word spread about Lainey's delightful, stress-relieving furry friends. At one point, she auctioned off a child's birthday party at her farm, and the mom asked if they could do yoga with the goats. And lo, the idea for goat yoga was born.

A baby goat on a yoga student. Photo courtesy of Lainey Morse

Goat yoga went viral so much so that by fall of 2016, Lainey was able to quit her office manager job at a remodeling company to manage her burgeoning goat yoga business full-time. Now she has 10 locations nationwide.

Lainey handles the backend management for all of her locations, and loves that side of the business too, even though it's less goat-related. "I still have my own personal Goat Happy Hour every single day so I still get to spend a lot of time with my goats," says Lainey. "I get the best of both worlds."

Lainey with her goat Fabio. Photo courtesy of Lainey Morse

Since COVID-19 hit, her locations have had to close temporarily. She hopes her yoga locations will be able to resume classes in the spring when the vaccine is more widely available. "I think people will need goat yoga more than ever before, because everyone has been through so much stress in 2020," says Lainey.

Major life changes like Lainey's can come around for any number of reasons. Even if they seem out of left field to some, it doesn't mean they're not the right moves for you. The new FOX series "Call Me Kat", which premieres Sunday, January 3rd after NFL and will continue on Thursday nights beginning January 7th, exemplifies that. The show is centered around Kat, a 39-year old single woman played by Mayim Bialik, who quit her math professor job and spent her life's savings to pursue her dreams to open a Cat Café in Louisville, Kentucky.

Jeff Harry started making similar moves when he was just 10-years-old, and kept making them throughout his life. After seeing the movie "Big,"Jeff knew he wanted to play with toys for a living, so he started writing toy companies asking for next steps. He finally got a response when he was a sophomore in high school — the company told him he needed to become a mechanical engineer first.

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Lainey and baby goat Annie. Photo courtesy of Lainey Morse
True

Oftentimes, the journey to our true calling is winding and unexpected. Take Lainey Morse, who went from office manager to creator of the viral trend, Goat Yoga, thanks to her natural affinity for goats and throwing parties.

Back in 2015, Lainey bought a farm in Oregon and got her first goats who she named Ansel and Adams. "Once I got them, I was obsessed," says Lainey. "It was hard to get me off the farm to go do anything else."

Right away, she noticed what a calming presence they had. "Even the way they chew their cud is relaxing to be around because it's very methodical," she says. Lainey was going through a divorce and dealing with a rheumatoid arthritis diagnosis at the time, but even when things got particularly hard, the goats provided relief.

"I found it impossible to be stressed or depressed when I was with them."

She started inviting friends up to the farm for what she called "Goat Happy Hour." Soon, the word spread about Lainey's delightful, stress-relieving furry friends. At one point, she auctioned off a child's birthday party at her farm, and the mom asked if they could do yoga with the goats. And lo, the idea for goat yoga was born.

A baby goat on a yoga student. Photo courtesy of Lainey Morse

Goat yoga went viral so much so that by fall of 2016, Lainey was able to quit her office manager job at a remodeling company to manage her burgeoning goat yoga business full-time. Now she has 10 locations nationwide.

Lainey handles the backend management for all of her locations, and loves that side of the business too, even though it's less goat-related. "I still have my own personal Goat Happy Hour every single day so I still get to spend a lot of time with my goats," says Lainey. "I get the best of both worlds."

Lainey with her goat Fabio. Photo courtesy of Lainey Morse

Since COVID-19 hit, her locations have had to close temporarily. She hopes her yoga locations will be able to resume classes in the spring when the vaccine is more widely available. "I think people will need goat yoga more than ever before, because everyone has been through so much stress in 2020," says Lainey.

Major life changes like Lainey's can come around for any number of reasons. Even if they seem out of left field to some, it doesn't mean they're not the right moves for you. The new FOX series "Call Me Kat", which premieres Sunday, January 3rd after NFL and will continue on Thursday nights beginning January 7th, exemplifies that. The show is centered around Kat, a 39-year old single woman played by Mayim Bialik, who quit her math professor job and spent her life's savings to pursue her dreams to open a Cat Café in Louisville, Kentucky.

Jeff Harry started making similar moves when he was just 10-years-old, and kept making them throughout his life. After seeing the movie "Big,"Jeff knew he wanted to play with toys for a living, so he started writing toy companies asking for next steps. He finally got a response when he was a sophomore in high school — the company told him he needed to become a mechanical engineer first.

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