Nestled beneath the Chipata Mountain, a vast network of rivers weave their way through wooded hills, nourishing the dense miombo forests that make up Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve.
Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve has had a difficult past. Decades of poaching and lawlessness saw a previously productive 1,800 km2 reserve, with over 1,500 elephants in the 1990s, reduced to fewer than 100 individuals by 2015. Game animals were hunted out. Nkhotakota had become an empty reserve. With wildlife practically gone, there was no reason to visit, no tourism revenue was generated and the park contained little to no value for the surrounding communities.
African Parks had a different vision for the most extensive remaining wild landscape in Malawi, one that included bringing it back to life. Upon assuming management in 2015, we immediately began preparing Nkhotakota for one of the world’s largest wildlife translocations. By August 2017, over a two-year period, the park received almost 500 elephants and 2,000 other animals. Poaching was dramatically reduced through the presence of a well-trained and equipped ranger team, tourism has begun to increase, and the birth of new elephant calves from the individuals translocated in 2016 has already been documented. Extreme measures were taken to restore this landscape, and it was an extraordinary collaboration between the Government of Malawi, our donors and the team in Nkhotakota. It is still early days for this vast reserve but in just two short years it already symbolises possibility and has demonstrated what nature can do with our help if only given the chance.
We are fostering a close relationship with local communities to provide tangible benefits from the reserve, including increasing tourism; and we will complete the construction of the reserve’s perimeter fence in 2018
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.View Partners
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