In a major translocation of wildlife, Malawi has this week relocated
114 elephants from Majete and Liwonde game reserves in southern Malawi
to Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve in central Malawi.
According to Malawi’s Director of Wildlife, Bright Kumchedwa besides
the 114 elephants relocated to the new park, other animals that have
been moved include sables, kudus, water buck, zebras and elands.
“The translocation programme is going on well as planned,” Kumchedwa said.
Conservation NGO, African Parks in conjunction with Malawi government
wants to translocate 500 elephants and about 1 000 other animal
species to Nkhotakota.
The translocation has so far been described as “one of the largest and
most significant elephant translocations in human history”.
The initiative is aimed, according to Kumchedwa, at repopulating
Nkhotakota with wildlife after years of poaching, as well as relieve
pressure from the elephant surplus in Liwonde and Majete.
African Parks CEO Peter Fearnhead is excited with the translocation
process saying so far there are no hitches.
“I am excited with progress. This translocation is a very specialised
operation and a massive logistical challenge, but it is on the right
course,” he said.
The process involves darting the elephants from helicopters;
retrieving then from the field by crane and recovery trucks; and then
putting them in purpose-built “wake-up” crates prior to transporting
them in trucks by road, a distance of about 300km.
Over the past two decades, the elephant population in the Southern
Africa nation has dwindled from 4 000 to 2 000.
Elephants have been hit hard by a global poaching epidemic that’s
emptying the planet of an array of wildlife. As many as 30 000
elephants are killed for their ivory each year.
Currently, there are an estimated herd of 434 000 elephants in Africa
down from 1.3 million in the mid-20th century due to rampant poaching.