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Monday, July 4, 2022

Malawi to move 250 elephants from one national park to another

The Malawian government and conservationists have announced plans to relocate 250 elephants from a park in the country’s south to a central park whose population has been nearly wiped out by poaching. But communities living near the park fear that the new arrivals could lead to more conflict between humans and wildlife.

The month-long exercise begins on Monday, when the animals are transported about 350 kilometers by road from Liwonde National Park in southern Malawi to Kasungu National Park in central Malawi.

Brighton Kumchedwa, Malawi’s director of national parks and wildlife, said that in addition to boosting the elephant population in Kasungu, relocation would minimize human-wildlife conflict in the communities surrounding Liwonde.
He said there are currently about 600 elephants in Livond, more than twice as many as the park estimated.

Malawi’s director of national parks and wildlife, Brighton Kumchedwa, says the issues of human-wildlife conflict have been resolved. (Lamek Masina/VOA)

“The elephants in Livonda have exceeded the capacity of the park,” he said. “Now there is habitat destruction as they search for food and water. And also, at the same time, a conflict between a man and an elephant, as a result of which people were killed, their property was damaged. So now one way to minimize this problem is to relocate these animals.”

The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) supports the transfer of elephants. It says that in the 1970s there were about 1,200 elephants living in Kasungu National Park.

The population has drastically declined due to poaching, and by 2015 only 50 elephants remained. Since then, anti-poaching efforts have helped increase the population to 120.

Patricio Ndadzela, senior IFAW official. said the new elephants would help Kasung attract more tourists and that more animals might follow.

Patricio Ndadzela, Head Of Malawi'S International Fund For Animal Welfare, Says Anti-Poaching Efforts Will Help Boost The Country'S Tourism Industry.  (Lamek Masina/Voa)

Patricio Ndadzela, head of Malawi’s International Fund for Animal Welfare, says anti-poaching efforts will help boost the country’s tourism industry. (Lamek Masina/VOA)

“Looking at Kasunga as the center of the country’s tourist attraction, we thought that by bringing more animals to the park, including elephants, and in the future we are thinking of bringing the big five; there are already leopards there,” he said. “So we’re talking about lions and other species associated with it.”

But communities living near Kasungu fear that the new elephants, which will triple the park’s elephant population, could lead to more conflict between humans and wildlife. Rosemary Banda, a smallholder farmer from Linyangwa village in Kasungu County, is among the wary locals.

“We are concerned that the presence of a large number of elephants here will lead to food shortages because elephants have destroyed our crops in the past,” she said. “There was a time when elephants destroyed my crops and left me without enough food as a person who relies on agricultural products to survive.”

A Banner Posted On The Wall Promotes Efforts To Relocate Elephants To Malawi This Year.  (Lamek Masina/Voa)

A banner posted on the wall promotes efforts to relocate elephants to Malawi this year. (Lamek Masina/VOA)

To allay the fears of local residents, Kumchedwa said the government had built a 40-kilometer fence in Kasungu to prevent elephants from entering the villages.

“If in good condition, it is an effective barrier,” he said. “Elephants are not often found in the community. But also to support that when these animals are dropped into Kasunga, some of them will be collared for easier observation. But in addition, we have teams for both ground and air support, so we protect communities in real time if these elephants break off.”

In 2016, Malawi carried out one of the largest elephant migrations in history when 520 elephants were moved to repopulate the Nkhotakota Wildlife Sanctuary.

At the time of the last study in 2015, there were about 2,000 elephants in Malawi, a 50% decrease from the 1980s.

This article is republished from – Voa News – Read the – original article.

World Nation News Desk
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