Changing Planet

How Hundreds of Elephants Are Being Relocated Across Malawi

Some 2,000 animals of various species, including 500 elephants, are being moved from Liwonde National Park and Majete Wildlife Reserve in southern Malawi to Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve in the northern part of the small southern-central African country, African Parks, a nonprofit conservation managing ten parks in seven African countries,  said in a media statement.

500 Elephants”, project,  a collaboration with Malawi’s Department of National Parks and Wildlife, is the largest ever translocation of elephants to a single reserve, and is one of the most significant translocation initiatives in conservation history, according to the statement. Starting July 2016, 250 elephants will be moved from Liwonde, with another 250 to be moved from Majete in July 2017.

Click the infographic to see how you move 500 elephants.
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“Translocations are a valuable, resource-intensive conservation management strategy that can be applied to protected areas to actively reduce risk of species extinction by broadening their range and increasing their numbers. Exemplifying proactive conservation, “500 Elephants” is an example of human-assisted migration, and is these elephants’ best hope for a sustainable future in which herds have the opportunity to stabilize and grow,” the two entities said their statement.

“A project of this scale is logistically challenging and requires substantial capacity. What this initiative demonstrates is that scale does not have to be a limitation. Seemingly extreme measures can be taken to alleviate overstocked parks, to restock new parks, and to relocate animals from unprotected areas to protected areas. This translocation also showcases the extraordinary lengths people from various sectors will go to actively protect an endangered species.”

12418031_10153900711084116_8462971761216697621_nDavid Braun is director of outreach with the digital and social media team illuminating the National Geographic Society’s explorer, science, and education programs.

He edits National Geographic Voices, hosting a global discussion on issues resonating with the Society’s mission and major initiatives. Contributors include grantees and Society partners, as well as universities, foundations, interest groups, and individuals dedicated to a sustainable world. More than 50,000 readers have participated in 10,000 conversations.

Braun also directs the Society side of the Fulbright-National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship

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Forty years in U.S., UK, and South African media gives David Braun global perspective and experience across multiple storytelling platforms. His coverage of science, nature, politics, and technology has been published/broadcast by the BBC, CNN, NPR, AP, UPI, National Geographic, TechWeb, De Telegraaf, Travel World, and Argus South African Newspapers. He has published two books and won several journalism awards. He has 120,000 followers on social media. David Braun edits the National Geographic Society blog, hosting a global discussion on issues resonating with the Society's mission and initiatives. He also directs the Society side of the Fulbright-National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship, awarded to Americans seeking the opportunity to spend nine months abroad, engaging local communities and sharing stories from the field with a global audience. Follow David on Facebook  Twitter  LinkedIn
  • Beverly Asmutis

    Elephants were my husband’s favorite wild animal. He thought they are sensitive, protective, smart, engaging, instinctively living in groups for the best protection of their society/community and wonderful parents.
    I’ve witnessed a rhino in the zoo playing catch (with a rubber truck tire) with its keeper and enjoying the amusement. He’d catch it on his horn and throw it back.
    If these animals are to be kept safe from the depravity of poaching, they mush have safe havens in the wild so relocation in that instance is paramount.
    For all our sakes, we must protect our wild life.

  • Carol Mary

    What can an ordinary retired person do to help save the elephants in Africa and Asia? Their future looks so grim.

  • Carol Thon

    How can an ordinary retired person help save the elephants in Africa and Asia? Their future looks so grim…

    • All the grass roots organisations on the ground who are trying so hard are in desperate need of funding. Please spread the word as far as you can if nothing else!

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