500 Elephants Are Being Moved By Crane And You Need To See This (Malawi)


Jason Wells, Buzzfeed

Date Published

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The African elephants are being tranquilized by dart from helicopters at Liwonde National Park, which is home to Malawi’s largest population of 800 threatened elephants.

The tranquilized elephants are then loaded by crane onto trucks before being hauled 185 miles away to to Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve, according to organizers of the $1.6 million project.

Moving the multi-ton elephants is a delicate process that will take several phases, organizers say.

African Parks, which manages all three Malawian reserves, is moving 500 elephants this month and August, and again then next year when the large transport vehicles can maneuver the rugged terrain during the dry winter, the Associated Press reported.

The so-called “surplus” elephants from the Liwonde and Majete parks will backfill the population at Nkhotakota, where poachers have practically wiped them out.

Conservationists are racing to use “human-induced migration” as part of an effort to protect the threatened African elephant population, where poaching and human encroachment on the continent have had severe impacts.

According to the World Wildlife Fund, there just an estimated 470,000 of the elephants left in the wild, down from several million last century.

Conservationists traveled with the elephants to monitor their breathing during the long trek. None were reported injured during the initial phase.

The new elephant population will be first introduced to a 16,000-hectare sanctuary at Nkhotakota before being released over time into the larger reserve. Organizers have plans to relocate another 1,500 animals from a variety of species to also help repopulate reserve.