Botlierskop African Cancer Research Initiative

Botlierskop’s conservation efforts reaches out across Africa. It has been discovered by scientists that elephants are cancer resistant. Scientist Dr Charlot Vandevoorde has started an ambitious African project collaborating with Botlierskop, to find a possible link to human cancers, and hopefully contribute to bringing about a cure for cancer. In this video meet international veterinary Dr Willem Burger, who partners with Dr Vandevoorde in collecting blood and skin samples from free-roaming elephants at Botlierskop Game Reserve. The entire process is a race against time as the blood samples need to be process with a few hours of collecting them. This is to prevent blood coagulation.

Working with Africa’s only, and world pioneering NRF-iThemba LABS, the samples are processed by Dr Vandevoorde and her team. NRF-iThemba LABS is also one of the few international facilities able to produce ‘space radiation’ contributing to the international space ‘Mars’ project. View dramatic footage of a unique elephant darting, where one of a family of elephants is darted – but its family members want to come to its rescue. Elephants are herd animals and their instinct is to protect each other. A helicopter with eyes on the other elephants had to be used to make sure they did not come too close, and possibly endanger the lives of the vets who were conducting the procedure on the darted elephant.