United Kingdom’s Prince Harry silently arrived in the country today via Lilongwe in a private visit that among other things is intended to promote the country’s wildlife conservation amid the biggest single transfer of elephants within the country.
Over 500 elephants are being moved within Malawi in a historic transfer of the animals intended to halt dwindling numbers and boost local tourism.
British High Commissioner Michael Nevin has confirmed that Harry is indeed in the country.
“I can indeed confirm that he arrived today, he is going to be here for quite a while but we cannot release much details because this is a private visit. He is here at the invitation of African Parks,” said Nevin.
The 31 year-old royal is known for his passion for wildlife.
Patricio Ndadzera, Malawi country director for Johannesburg-based charity also confirmed the arrival of the Prince Harry ehose activities in the country were supposed to be strictly kept secret.
“I am coming from the airport where we have just welcomed him. Where did you get this information? The family requested privacy,” said Ndadzera sounding panicking over the leak of the visit.
However, Ndadzera confirmed that the visit of Harry was primarily to support the wildlife conservation.
“Prince Harry is very passionate about conservation. He has been in South Africa and other African countries promoting wildlife conservation and after learning about the on-going translocation of animals, he decided to come and lender support. He is going to participate in the programme starting tomorrow,” said Ndadzera.
According to Ndadzera, Harry is hardly likely to get his hands involved in the tranquilization of the elephants, saying only experts veterinarians are allowed to conduct the exercise.
The elephants are being moved from Liwonde National Park in the southern district of Machinga to Nkhotakota game reserve some 450 kilometers north in Nkhotakota district, according to African Parks, a non-profit making conservative group behind the move.
After being tranquilized the animals are then craned into the trucks for a new home with African Parks managing both game reserves under a concession agreement with Malawi government.
Some 92 elephants will be driven by road on huge trucks in the first transfer.
“We have done all the ecological research and Nkhotakota is already having some 1500 elephants. All we are doing is restocking it. It used to have a huge population of elephants but the numbers dwindled due to poaching. We are now increasing security and working with local communities to learn from lessons of the past,”
According to the charity, the elephants will find at their new home some 11 bulls, 151 family groups of elephants, 220 waterbucks, 284 Impalas, 200 sables, and a few black rhinos in one of Malawi’s biggest pushes to improve its tourism.
Over the past 20 years, Malawi’s elephant population has been halved – from 4,000 to 2,000 amid a continent-wide decline.
African Parks says a great deal of effort has been taken care to ensure the big animals are not separated from families—a huge challenge that faced their complex