Players of People's Postcode Lottery are generously supporting the conservation of wild places in Africa, including one of the largest elephant translocations in human history!
African Parks, a conservation non-profit organization that manages National Parks and Protected Areas across Africa, has received a remarkable total of over £1.3 Million to date from players. This vital funding is being used for the protection of three reserves under African Parks' management in Malawi.
Part of the funding is helping with the historic 500 Elephants Initiative in Malawi, which involves relocating 500 elephants from two parks that have a surplus of elephants to a third that has the space and habitat to help repopulate that park.
In July and August 2016, the first phase of the translocation occurred, with the successful translocation of 261 elephants from the overpopulated Liwonde National Park to Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve, where they can grow and thrive. Nkhotakota is poised to be Malawi's premiere elephant sanctuary, and will drive tourism - boosting employment and local economies.
The remaining 250 elephants will be moved to Nkhotakota later this year, with 100 coming from Liwonde and 150 from Majete Wildlife Reserve, where the elephant population has grown significantly since they were reintroduced there by African Parks in 2006.
This pioneering restoration project has employed hundreds of local people, provided needed fencing of Liwonde and Nkhotakota (ensuring the security of both the local communities and wildlife), continued law enforcement in all three parks to prevent poaching, and contributed to important community work.
While most news coming out of Africa on elephants is about the very real poaching crisis driving their species towards extinction, this is a story of hope and the possibility of securing a future for Malawi's elephants. While African Parks is responsible for 90% of Malawi's elephant population, almost 15,000 elephants are under their protection across all the parks they manage!
African Parks currently manages ten parks in seven countries, including Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Zambia, and Malawi - with a combined area under conservation in excess of 6.1 million hectares. They are uniquely addressing the conservation crisis across Africa through their model of assuming complete management of parks in partnership with governments and local communities. They have the largest ranger force across Africa and have the greatest area under conservation for any one NGO.
Photo credit: African Parks/Frank Weitzer