Malawi begins ‘epic’ rescue to save African elephantsJune 11th, 2009 - 6:10 am ICT by IANS
Cape Town, June 11, (IANS) A massive relocation of elephants has begun in the southern African nation of Malawi, as part of a move that experts say would help protect some 60 pachyderms from human persecution.
The elephants will be transported by trucks, about six hours journey from the conflict-prone Phirilongwe region to Majete Wildlife Reserve, over the next few days.
The elephants moved into the populated Phirilongwe area where the Malawi Lake provided them water after their jungle habitat nearby dried up due to droughts. The pachyderms also raided crops.
The lake has been a major cause of conflict between elephants and humans, since it was also an important water source for the Phirilongwe residents, the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), an NGO, which is helping the government in the relocation, said in a statement Wednesday.
“A group of nine elephants, including three young calves, have been successfully darted and tranquilised, and are en route from Phirilongwe to Majete Wildlife Reserve,” Jason Bell-Leask, IFAW southern Africa director, said.
“The capture team report that the start of this epic rescue to save the more than 60 strong Phirilongwe elephant herd got off to a smooth start this morning (Wednesday), and IFAW fully anticipates that the capture of the remaining elephants will be equally hitch free,” he said.
IFAW has partnered with the government to rescue the animals that are at the centre of fierce human-elephant conflict in an area populated mostly by subsistence farmers, the statement said.
“For years the herd has been maimed by local villagers, sometimes using appallingly cruel methods to protect their crops and granaries from raids by the elephants,” said Bell-Leask.
“To bring this desperate situation into sharp focus, our team on the ground reports that one of the elephants darted this morning is missing the bottom portion of her trunk - probably as a result of a snare.
“At least 10 people and numerous elephants have lost their lives in this conflict. The decision to translocate the elephants to a protected area is the only answer to a situation that would have seen the elephants culled through problem animal control if not moved,” IFAW said.
A South African based wildlife organisation, which is widely acknowledged for its expertise and ethical approach, is managing the capture and translocation of the elephants.
“This translocation project to move the Phirilongwe elephants represents a viable and long-term solution to a major conservation management problem and ultimately ensures the safety of both animals and people,” said Bell-Leask.
“It is a reminder that throughout Africa and Asia (where conflicts between humans and elephants also arise) we must develop skillful and thoughtful approaches to human-elephant conflict to prevent these dangerous and deadly circumstances from arising.”
- Elephant-human clashes in Malawi force mass translocation - Jun 05, 2009
- Uttarakhand's killer tusker evades death - Jan 11, 2012
- Paddy comes to rescue of elephants in Arunanchal - May 21, 2012
- Give elephants their space, urges Madhuri - Jul 21, 2011
- Elephant to be declared national heritage animal: Jairam - Aug 31, 2010
- Outrage over baby elephant's killing in Assam - Oct 27, 2010
- Assam villagers poisoning elephants to prevent attacks - Oct 14, 2010
- Elephant herd kills two, injures child in Assam - Jun 18, 2012
- Man-animal conflict: Villagers poison elephants in Assam - Oct 25, 2009
- Sri Lanka mulls elephant conservation centre - May 04, 2012
- Poachers kill 200 elephants in Cameroon - Feb 18, 2012
- Complaint against Haryana Tourism for using elephant - Aug 20, 2012
- Two orphaned rhinos from Kaziranga to be released in Manas - Mar 10, 2012
- Elephants wreak havoc in Siliguri's tea garden - Dec 04, 2010
- Human-elephant conflict on the rise in Assam - May 17, 2012
Tags: african elephants, bottom portion, calves, cruel methods, desperate situation, droughts, elephant herd, granaries, human persecution, ifaw, international fund for animal welfare, jason bell, jungle habitat, leask, pachyderms, southern africa, southern african nation, subsistence farmers, water source, wildlife reserve