Around the Island

African elephant adventure at the Library

On Oct. 1, the Shelter Island Library’s Friday Night Dialogues is going to take you on an exciting African adventure herding elephants from one wildlife park to another, safer location.

Nancy Koltes will describe her once-in-a-lifetime experience in Malawi riding in a helicopter above families of elephants moving to their new home. She will tell of her amazing up-close contact with these magnificent beasts and what she learned about their habitats and their complicated relationships with the native people.

Guest speaker Nancy Koltes. (Courtesy photo)

Nancy’s brother, Steven Koltes, has long worked to raise funds for African Parks, an organization that maintains numerous wildlife parks on the continent.

In 2016, he and his family (including Nancy) got an opportunity to spend three weeks participating in the translocation of about 520 elephants from two parks that had more elephants than their resources could handle, to one larger park in northern Malawi.

The elephants traveled about 217 miles from one park and over 372 miles from another, then they were tranquilized and checked by veterinarians in camps set up for them.

Their new home, Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve, was prepared for their safety by overhauling law enforcement and anti-poaching guards, adding a 30-foot-high electrified fence and high-tech monitoring. Now all three parks are flourishing under the African Parks guidance and tourism has grown, giving an economic boost to the areas.

Nancy will share this fantastic adventure with you on Zoom on Oct. 1 at 7 p.m. Register on the library’s website, at least 30 minutes in advance.

Next Up: Friday, Oct. 22, 7 p.m. at the Library. “Mocktails and Murder: A Jazz Age Mystery.” Dress in your finest 1920s garb and join us for a night of intrigue. It will be up to you to find out “whodunnit.”