Department of National Parks and Wildlife in partnership with African Parks and International Fund for Animal Welfare (Ifaw) plans to translocate 250 elephants from Liwonde National Park to Kasungu National Park.
The translocation exercise is scheduled to take place between June 27 2022 and July 29 2022. Other animals set to be relocated are buffaloes, impalas, sables, warthogs and waterbucks.
In an interview on the sidelines of a media briefing at Sunbird Mount Soche in Blantyre yesterday, director of national parks and wildlife Brighton Kumchedwa said the translocation exercise will ensure that the habitat of Liwonde National Park is maintained.
He said: “There are about 600 elephants at Liwonde National Park which is more than the capacity of around 300. So, we are trying to bring down the numbers to manageable levels. Kasungu National Park can take over 2 000 elephants at one go.”
Kumchedwa said the animals will be transported over a distance of 350 kilometres (km) by road and said the translocation will be a significant landmark for Malawi which has become a model of excellence for rehabilitation of important conservation areas.
In a separate interview, Ifaw chief of party in Malawi Patricio Ndadzela also described the translocation exercise as a significant achievement.
“It proves the Department of National Parks’ approach to working with partners to secure its natural resources,” he said.
On his part, African Parks country representative Sam Kamoto said they cannot estimate how much money will be used in the translocation exercise, but hinted that it could cost between $850 to $1 400 (about K1.5 billion).
In 2016 and 2017, African Parks undertook one of the largest elephant translocations, relocating 520 elephants of which 366 were moved from Liwonde to repopulate Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve.
Cheetahs and lions were reintroduced in Liwonde in 2017 and 2018, respectively, followed by a black rhino translocation in 2019 and wild hogs in 2021.