African Parks is creating a safe harbour for elephants in Malawi. The results speak for the themselves, with signs of the first elephant calves born in the reserve from the elephants that were translocated in 2016.
Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve was once home to more than 1,500 elephants. Over the years, lack of protection coupled with the insatiable demand for precious ivory reduced this once vibrant herd to fewer than 100 individuals, with much of the other wildlife in the reserve also depleted. But African Parks envisioned something else for this landscape.
That’s when ‘500 Elephants’ was born. African Parks decided they would repopulate Nkhotakota with elephants from Liwonde National Park which, also under management by African Parks since August 2015, has had the challenge of too many elephants in that small park who have been causing conflict and putting pressure on natural habitats. Between July and August in 2016, 261 elephants were successfully moved from Liwonde to a sanctuary within Nkhotakota.
The elephants are thriving. There have been several recent sightings by the Park Manager and Rangers on patrol of very young elephants that have been born in Nkhotakota in the last six months. While they have yet to confirm numbers, given gestation is 22 months for elephants it has been confirmed that these calves were conceived in Liwonde, that they made the journey safely to Nkhotakota, and they have now provided new life to this once empty park.
Their future remains bright. Not only is there adequate space and resources for these elephants, but the 96km of park perimeter fencing completing in the last 12 months has also almost eliminated human-wildlife conflict. These elephants will soon be joined by 240 others, coming from Liwonde and Majete Wildlife Reserve over June to August later this year. In just two short years, Nkhotakota has transformed and is brimming with new life, providing hope to Malawi and its elephants.
Malawi is a hidden gem. It is the unique combination of landscape, wildlife, lake and the people which makes this one of Africa’s most fascinating countries. Safe and friendly, Malawi offers visitors a fascinating variety of sights and experiences. The diversity of landscapes, the huge lake and the national parks and reserves provide the foundation for the unrivalled choice of safaris, water sports and outdoor activities on offer.