Significant Wildlife Translocation Completed in Malawi to Support Biodiversity Efforts
Lilongwe, Malawi: 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.
This important initiative was made possible by a leadership gift from perennial African Parks supporter, Elephant Cooperation, and the generous support from various philanthropic funders. The Elephant Cooperation (EC) is a US-based NGO focused on saving the African elephant and supporting children and communities living near wildlife areas.
“As a committed supporter of the great work African Parks does to help elephants, we are proud to provide this leadership gift to African Parks to support the repopulation of Kasungu National Park while also reducing human-elephant conflict and pressure on Liwonde’s natural resources” says Scott Struthers, entrepreneur and Founder of Elephant Cooperation.
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Notes to Editors:
- The overall management of Liwonde National Park would not be possible without the support of the players of the People’s Postcode Lottery, the US Department of State, WWF Belgium & The Wyss Foundation.
- About Liwonde National Park: African Parks has been collaborating with Malawi’s Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW) since 2003 for the management of Majete Wildlife Reserve. In 2015, DNPW partnered with African Parks to transform Liwonde National Park into a secure wildlife haven and to realise its full potential as a precious resource for Malawi and its people. In 2018, the government extended the mandate to incorporate the contiguous 358 km² Mangochi Forest Reserve, increasing the footprint by 60%. Years of poaching and deforestation had taken its toll on the park and human-wildlife conflict was rife, but over the past six years Liwonde has re-emerged as a valuable asset to Malawi and is now one of the most sought-after wildlife destinations in the country.
- Community Development in Liwonde National Park: In educational development, US$75,765 was spent on scholarships, a US$46,390 increase from 2020. An assessment showed a large improvement in students’ literacy as a result of the Happy Readers project. Two classroom blocks, a teacher’s house and 260 school desks were sponsored for schools with the support of Malawi Community Hubs, a UK registered charity, and Youth for Development and Productivity (YODEP), a nonprofit organisation that addresses socio-economic issues in communities. In conjunction with Americares, two health centres were upgraded, including the addition of a maternity wing at Namanolo Health Centre. The Spicy Farmers project proved a major success, with nearly 77 tonnes of chillies harvested. A significant drop in elephant breakouts was also noted thanks to the ‘chilli elephant barrier’ created by the project. The Honey with Heart project progressed with 194 new beehives – nearly doubling the honey harvested last year and generating US$12,040. Vegetable and livestock farmers thrived with irrigation assistance to improve crop growth and the Goat Pass-On Project, which addresses protein needs in communities. Over US$12,000 was raised from selling surplus produce above own-use consumption.
- About Kasungu National Park: Kasungu is the second largest national park in Malawi covering 2,100 square kilometres, IFAW—in partnership with DNPW—has been working in Kasungu since 2015 addressing law enforcement, wildlife crime, infrastructure and capacity within the park. Since 2017, USAID, with the generosity of the American people, has supported this work.
- About Malawi Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW): The Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW) is one of the departments under the Ministry Tourism, Culture and Wildlife and is responsible for the management and conservation of wildlife resources in Malawi. Our mission is to conserve and manage protected areas and wildlife for present and future Malawians through enforcement of wildlife legislation, adaptive management, effective monitoring and governance.
- About African Parks: African Parks is a non-profit conservation organisation that takes on the complete responsibility for the rehabilitation and long-term management of national parks in partnership with governments and local communities. African Parks manages 20 national parks and protected areas in 11 countries covering over 17 million hectares in Angola, Benin, Central African Republic, Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Republic of Congo, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. For more information visit www.africanparks.org, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
- About the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW): The International Fund for Animal Welfare is a global non-profit helping animals and people thrive together. We are experts and everyday people, working across seas, oceans and in more than 40 countries around the world. We rescue, rehabilitate and release animals, and we restore and protect their natural habitats. The problems we’re up against are urgent and complicated. To solve them, we match fresh thinking with bold action. We partner with local communities, governments, non-governmental organisations and businesses. Together, we pioneer new and innovative ways to help all species flourish. See how at ifaw.org.