Malawi is about to host one of the world’s largest elephant translocations. The ambitious project, coordinated by non-profit organization African Parks in conjunction with Malawi’s Department of National Parks and Wildlife, will see 500 elephants moved from Liwonde National Park, where conservation efforts have resulted in a surplus of elephants, to Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve, located near the shores of Lake Malawi.
The process to move the elephants, set to begin next week, is a bit laborious; firstly helicopters will be used to fire tranquilizer darts into the animals. Then cranes will be used to lift the elephants onto trucks which will transport the elephants about 300 km overland. Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve has been depleted of wildlife for years and it is hoped that the elephant translocation and plans to eventually move another 1,500 animals of various species there will allow the reserve to offer a superior safari experience. As Malawi Tourism spokesman Kelly White put it, “Malawi will become one of the most complete destinations in Africa, with lake, landscape, culture and now wildlife experiences of the very highest quality. Warm, welcoming and unspoiled, Malawi really is just waiting to be discovered.”
African Parks and the Malawi government already have a history of success in wildlife conservation; the two entities previously teamed-up to restock Majete Wildlife Reserve with 2,500 animals including Africa’s ‘Big Five.’