Liwonde National Park is the home of incredible wildlife translocations and reintroductions, which has seen predators restored to the park for the first time in two decades
Situated in Malawi, the ‘warm heart of Africa,’ Liwonde National Park has been the home of incredible wildlife translocations and reintroductions, and transformations. When African Parks assumed management of Liwonde, in partnership with the Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW) in 2015, the park was riddled with tens of thousands of wire snares – more snares existed than large animals – and it had some of the highest human-wildlife conflict levels in the region. People were poaching wildlife in the park, and tragically were also being killed by elephants and crocodiles. It was lawless and fraught with challenges.
African Parks assumed management of the park and immediately began constructing an electric fence to keep wildlife inside the park and illegal activity out. Just one year later, Liwonde was at the epicentre of one of the largest elephant translocations in history, where a total of 336 elephants were relocated to Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve in Malawi to help restore that reserve. This translocation not only helped reduce pressure on Liwonde’s natural habitats but also helped address the deadly human-wildlife conflict situation. Since 2015, over 36,000 snares have been removed, and poaching has been significantly reduced and is now under control.
After restoring security to the park, we began to re-establish Liwonde’s predator population. Cheetahs were reintroduced in 2017, bringing the species back to the park after 100 years. A founder population of 10 lions was also reintroduced from Majete Wildlife Reserve and South Africa in 2018. Wildlife populations are on the rise, and so are the number of people who are coming to the park to witness at the revival. The number of tourists has increased by 25 percent and revenue has increased by 70 percent since 2016. In just two short years, Liwonde has been given a second chance and it is being restored and transformed for the benefit of the wildlife, and for the people who live here.
Monitoring and managing the growing elephant and black rhino populations remain a high priority, as does the newly reintroduced cheetah and lion populations. Improved access to water and electricity are an urgent requirement along with the construction of new staff accommodation and roads
Malawi Department of National Parks and Wildlife is the statutory organisation in charge of national parks, wildlife reserves and sanctuaries as well as wildlife management on communal lands in Malawi. We began our work with the DNPW in Majete Wildlife Reserve in 2003 and in Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve and Liwonde National Park in 2015.Partners
Sign up to be the first to hear #GoodNews happening around African Parks.×