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Wildlife Translocation Success in Malawi

Megan Seltzer

03 Aug 2022

We are delighted to share with you that the translocation of elephants and additional wildlife from Liwonde National Park to Kasungu National Park has been successfully completed.

This exciting news, announced on the 31st July 2022, marked the successful move of 263 elephants and 431 additional wildlife with species including impala, buffalo, warthog, and sable. Alongside this, 947 other wildlife were also translocated from Liwonde to Mangochi Forest Reserve and Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve in Malawi.

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This major conservation effort was undertaken by Malawi's Department of National Parks and Wildlife in partnership with African Parks and the International Fund for Animal Welfare. The effort was in accordance 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. 

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The mass translocation began on June 27th and concluded on July 31. Wildlife 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."

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African Parks has successfully partnered with DNPW for the management of Liwonde since 2015 and following from this, hosted one of the largest elephant translocations in history in 2016 and 2017. This saw the relocation of 520 elephants, 366 of which were moved from Liwonde, alleviating pressure on habitat, reduced conflicts and repopulate Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve.

Kasungu is the second largest national park in Malawi covering 2,100 square kilometres - four times the size of Liwonde. The park was home to about 1,200 elephants in the 1970s before poaching reduced their number to 49 by 2015. Before 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.

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Since 2018, NWS has been a proud partner of African Parks, joining with them as part of Conservation Travel Initiative. We have strived to offer special expeditions to key emerging destinations in African Parks’ conservation portfolio, including the aforementioned Zakouma National Park in Chad, where African Parks have practically eliminated poaching thanks to engagement with local communities and a raft of improved security measures.

This partnership endeavours to serve as an example of how the joint efforts of the conservation and tourism industries can protect and conserve African wildlife and wilderness in perpetuity. NWS supported African Parks’ goal of reaching its ‘20 Parks (under management) by the year 2020’. By participating in these private expeditions and visiting the select properties, travellers will be able to join a community of global conservation contributors.

We are excited to see the continuing success of this effort by all involved in Malawi and continue our support for the conservation of our natural world.

For more updates on the elephants translocated follow our Instagram and keep up to date with our stories!

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