The second and final phase of the historic translocation of 500 elephants in Malawi is underway and this month 200 elephants will be translocated to their new environment.
Last year, the African Parks in conjunction with the Malawi government embarked on the project in which 260 elephants were moved from Liwonde and Majete parks to Nkhotakota National Park. This year, 50 elephants have already been rehomed.
According to the African Parks, this is amid continued decline of elephants in Africa due to massive poaching which has happened in order to meet growing demand for ivory, mostly in parts of Asia.
The African Parks is also moving elephants because there are too many elephants in the smaller parks where they cause conflict with people and put pressure on natural habitats impacting other wildlife.
“Nkhotakota is larger, and we have overhauled law enforcement and secured the park from poaching over the past two years – that park lost its elephants several decades ago but is now ready to be repopulated because we’ve made it much safer.
“We did this with Majete where elephants were poached out in the 90’s – we reintroduced them in 2006 and in 10 years they grew to over 400. Tremendous planning and care has gone into this project – from overhauling law enforcement to making their new home safe from poachers, to ensuring the safety of each and every elephant,” African Parks said in a post on Facebook.
However, the organisation said it is heartbroken that, despite the extensive efforts of their team, they lost one elephant during the first phase of the translocation project.
This, African Parks said, is a big blow but they remain positive and devoted to their goal which is to secure a future for Malawi’s elephants.
Nkhotakota before this project had fewer than 100 elephants and Africa has about 470,000 elephants, down from as many as 3 million to 5 million in the early 20th century.