JOHANNESBURG, August 3, 2017 /PRNewswire/ --
African Parks, a conservation NGO which manages national parks and protected areas across Africa, completed one of the largest elephant translocations in history on Wednesday, August 2nd, 2017. In total, 520 elephants were successfully moved from Liwonde National Park and Majete Wildlife Reserve in Malawi, and were released in Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve, which it manages in partnership with Malawi's Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW).
The translocation had two objectives: to restock Nkhotakota and to relieve pressure from the elephant surplus in Liwonde and Majete. Years of poaching had reduced Nkhotakota's population from 1,500 to fewer than 100 elephants before the start of the translocation, but African Parks has spent two years overhauling law enforcement to prevent poaching, working with communities and preparing for their safe arrival.
"Together with African Parks we have taken extraordinary measures to secure a future for Malawi's elephants, and at the same time are helping people who live around these critically important wild areas. We're reducing conflict in two parks, while restoring ecological processes and increasing tourism in the third park, which has positive benefits for local communities. This really is a win-win for both people and wildlife," said Brighton Kumchedwa, Director of DNPW.
Last year, 261 elephants were moved along with 1,100 other animals to restock Nkhotakota. This year starting 17th June, Nkhotakota received 225 more elephants and other animals from Majete and Liwonde. In addition, another 34 elephants were moved from Liwonde to Nyika National Park, bringing the total to 520 successfully relocated elephants.
"Seldom do we hear good news about elephants in Africa," said Peter Fearnhead, CEO of African Parks. "This successful translocation is a pivotal moment for Malawi which has emerged as a leader in African elephant conservation and in park restoration. Rehoming more than 500 elephants, and knowing they will thrive in Nkhotakota, is a story of hope and survival, and a real example of what is possible with good collaboration."
This initiative was made possible with the generous support of the Dutch Postcode Lottery, the Wyss Foundation, The Wildcat Foundation, Donna and Marvin Schwartz, Stichting Dioraphte, and the People's Postcode Lottery.
Read the full press release
Download images and the one-minute film showing the translocation
SOURCE African Parks