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Published on : Thursday, July 21, 2016
In total, up to 500 elephants are being translocated from Liwonde National Park and Majete Wildlife Reserve, in southern Malawi to their new home not far from the famous Lake in central Malawi. In addition to these elephants, thousands of other animals including sable, waterbuck, zebra, kudu, eland and warthogs are also being translocated all with the goal of repopulating Nkhotakota and restoring it to its former glory after years of rampant poaching.
The first elephants to enter their new home were a family of nine individuals but families of up to 20-25 can be moved at a time. So far all the elephants are doing well and staying within the perimeter fencing. African Parks who are leading the translocation plan to collar a total of 35 of these first 250 elephants in order to monitor the elephants in they’re vast new home. Collars will be attached to 10 bulls and the rest to matriarchs.
The operation has two objectives: to relieve pressure from the elephant surplus in Liwonde and Majete, and to restock Nkhotakota which supported more than 1,500 elephants 20 years ago, but today has fewer than 100. Liwonde and Majete are source populations for elephants and are at or nearing capacity (with populations of 800 and 400 elephants respectively), resulting in habitat degradation and high levels of human-wildlife conflict. As Malawi is a densely-populated, agro-based country, no ecological corridors exist to allow for natural migration. The “500 Elephants” initiative is a human-assisted migration providing the best chance of a long-term and sustainable future for these elephants.