Africa’s biggest elephant relocation aims to protect population

Global Business

Africa's biggest elephant relocation aims to protect population2

Malawi is preparing for the biggest elephant relocation in Africa. 500 elephants will be transported from one reserve to another.

It’s all in a bid to protect the animals from poachers and increase the dwindling population. CCTV’s Clementine Logan has more.
Follow Clementine Logan on Twitter @ClemLogan

African Parks is responsible for protecting 90 percent of Malawi’s elephant population.

Next month, the team will start moving 500 elephants from two overpopulated wildlife reserves in the south of Malawi, to Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve, which has had its elephant population decimated by poachers.

It’s a 300-500 kilometer journey that will cost more than $1.5 million. But African Parks believes it needs to be done. Malawi’s elephant population has halved over the past 20 years – from 4,000 to 2,000. And it’s estimated there are now just 450,000 elephants left on the entire continent.

African Parks said its aim is to regenerate Nkhotakota’s dwindling wildlife, and help protect Malawi’s elephant population from poaching and human-wildlife conflict. The elephants’ new 16,000 hectare home will be fenced off, and the local community has committed to helping protect them.

The move will be carried out over a year, with the first herd of elephants set to be transported by truck in July. Despite careful planning, it’ll be a risky operation.

While many conservationists agree translocations are unavoidable, some feel more should be done to improve the elephants’ well-being.

Conservationists said shared guidelines, expertise and long-term monitoring of elephant populations – before translocations – could all help boost their chances of survival.

Andrew Parker on the process of the translocation

Fore more on this massive relocation, CCTV America’s Michelle Makori spoke to Andrew Parker, operations director of African Parks. She began by asking about the logistics involved in such a large-scale operation.