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  • Jamie Thom

Malawi's Elephants for the Future

I am ever impressed by the work done by African Parks, they are about to begin an elephant relocation program in Malawi, moving 500 individuals to parks where there is more space and less human pressure. The relocation will take around a year to complete and involves darting the pachyderms from helicopters and hoisting them into trucks before driving them 180+ miles to their new home.

“There’s a paradox in Africa where elephants are in steep decline in certain places,” but require population management in better-protected areas where their numbers are growing, said Andrew Parker, operations director at African Parks.

In Malawi, Parker said, “surplus elephants” stripping large tracts of vegetation and coming into conflict with communities at two wildlife parks, Majete and Liwonde, will move to Nkhotakota, a park of 700 square miles (1,800 square kilometers) with more space and security.

African Parks manages all three reserves. Nkhotakota currently has fewer than 100 elephants and Malawi has up to 1,500 elephants in total. Africa has about 470,000 elephants, down from as many as 3 million to 5 million in the early 20th century, according to the WWF conservation group.

The elephants in Malawi will be moved in small groups in a first phase in July and August, and again in a similar period next year. The Dutch PostCode Lottery, which supports charity, is a key funder of the $1.6 million relocation.

Read more about the amazing work African Parks does.

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