On July 9th, South Sudan will become the world’s newest country. Wildlife conservationists are working to ensure that its remarkable herds of elephants, gazelles, white-eared kob, and tiang have a secure place in the nation for years to come.

WCS conservationist Paul Elkan began surveying the savannahs of South Sudan four years ago as part of the first wildlife census in more than two decades. Recently, NPR reporter Frank Langfitt visited Elkan and his colleague Mike Kock, a WCS veterinarian, on a mission to locate and radio-collar a group of elephants. The collars will help WCS track the animals, and work with the country’s leaders to protect them from poachers and development.

The adventure began in a helicopter, flying low over the tree line of South Sudan’s Boma National Park.

Langfitt reported on the team’s work in this radio story from NPR.
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