South African Elephant on 'Death Row' Receives Temporary Stay of Execution (File)

South Africa animal activists were fighting in court for the life of an elephant notorious for trampling land and inconveniencing locals on Tuesday, April 2.

Riff Raff, a bull elephant estimated to be aged between 40 to 45 years old, originally lived on the Greater Makalali Private Game Reserve in Hoedspruit, a town in South Africa’s Limpopo province.

According to a press release sent to Storyful by the Humane Society International, Riff Raff was on “death row” for repeatedly ruining fences and stomping across farmland and in March 2018, workers with the Humane Society relocated him to a larger reservation, only for the pachyderm to turn around and walk 40 miles back to his original home.

This file footage from March 22, 2018, shows the relocation effort, according to the Humane Society.

Acting Deputy Judge President Justice M.G. Phatudi granted Riff Raff a temporary stay of execution on Tuesday. The court intended to review a new relocation plan that was initially rejected by the local Limpopo Department of Economic Development, Environment and Tourism.

“Riff Raff is a magnificent bull elephant who symbolizes a very sad and serious challenge in South Africa, and indeed in all countries that are home to elephants,” a Humane Society International blog post read. “Many elephants labeled as a ‘problem’ are simply bull elephants doing what they are biologically hard-wired to do, and that is to leave their herd and find their own new range and unrelated females so they can move up in the bull hierarchy and sire offspring.” Credit: Humane Society International via Storyful