African Parks, a conservation organisation which manages national parks and protected areas across Africa, completed one of the largest elephant translocations in history on Wednesday in Malawi.
The organization has successfully moved 520 elephants from Liwonde National Park and Majete Wildlife Reserve to Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve.
Confirming the development on Thursday was Brighton Kumchedwa who is the Director of Department of National Parks and Wildlife.
Kumchedwa said 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 the elephants’ 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 Kumchedwa.
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.
Chief Executive Officer of African Parks Peter Fearnhead hailed the relocation saying people seldom hear good news about elephants in Africa.
“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,” said Fearnhead.
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.