The 31st of July, 2022 marked the conclusion of the successful translocation of 263 elephants and 431 additional wildlife from Liwonde National Park to Kasungu National Park in Malawi. The translocation was undertaken by Malawi’s Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW) in partnership with African Parks and the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), in an effort to maintain healthy habitats in Malawi’s national parks, establish viable elephant populations, and ensure the prosperity of local communities living around the park.
“We are overjoyed that the exercise has been completed successfully, thanks to all of the partners who worked hard to finish the work on time. The addition of elephants and other wildlife species to Kasungu National Park will benefit Malawi tourism as well as communities through job creation, thereby fuelling a conservation-driven economy,” said Brighton Kumchedwa, Malawi’s Director of National Parks and Wildlife.
The translocation began on June 27th and concluded on July 31st. During this time, 263 elephants and 431 additional wildlife including impala, buffalo, warthog, sable and waterbuck were successfully translocated approximately 350kms via road from Liwonde, managed by conservation organisation African Parks, to Kasungu, managed by DNPW and supported by IFAW.
“We have been working in close partnership with DNPW in Liwonde to generate benefits for people and wildlife since 2015. Thanks to the Malawian Government’s commitment to this landscape, Liwonde has re-emerged as a park not only hailed for the recovery of its wildlife numbers, but for its international tourism appeal,” said Sam Kamoto, African Parks’ Country Manager. “The addition of elephants to Kasungu will help with the overall tourism in the country, contribute to local employment and fuel a conservation-led economy.”
African Parks partnered with DNPW for the management of Liwonde in 2015, since then the park has hosted one of the largest elephant translocations in history in 2016 and 2017 which saw the relocation of 520 elephants, of which 366 were moved from Liwonde, to alleviate pressure on habitat, reduce conflict and repopulate Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve, also managed by African Parks. The further translocation of elephants and additional wildlife to Kasungu is yet another successful national conservation initiative that will not only establish another viable elephant population in the country but also further stimulate tourism.
Kasungu is the second largest national park in Malawi covering 2,100 square kilometres, which is four times the size of Liwonde. IFAW, in partnership with DNPW, have been working in Kasungu since 2015 addressing law enforcement, wildlife crime, infrastructure and capacity building within the park. The park was home to about 1,200 elephants in the 1970s before poaching reduced their number to 49 by 2015. Before the conclusion of this translocation there were 120 elephants in Kasungu, the introduction of an additional 263 elephants from Liwonde will support the increase of the population in the park.
“The translocation of the elephants and other wildlife is a significant achievement and proves DNPW’s approach to working with partners to secure its natural resources is a sound one. The partnership with the Malawi Government is not over, IFAW will continue to work at Kasungu to ensure that the Park is fully restored to its former glory. We thank all partners and individuals who played different roles to ensure that the exercise is a success,” said Patricio Ndadzela, IFAW’s Country Director for Malawi and Zambia. IFAW supports DNPW in law enforcement, community engagement and fencing, amongst other activities in Kasungu.
An additional 947 wildlife were translocated from Liwonde to Mangochi Forest Reserve and Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve to boost populations and fast track restoration and biodiversity.
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