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500 Elephants Moved Out of Development's Path in Malawi

Image: 500 Elephants Moved Out of Development's Path in Malawi

An elephant is lifted by a crane in an upside down position. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)

By    |   Wednesday, 20 Jul 2016 09:37 AM

About 500 elephants in Malawi are being moved by truck and crane to a sanctuary created for the threatened species as development squeezes them out of their habitat in Malawi's Liwonde National Park.

The massive project involved immobilizing the elephants with darts shot from a helicopter and loading the animals onto trucks by crane for an 185-mile trek, The Associated Press reported.

"This is very much the way that we'll have to manage things in the future," Craig Reid, manager of Liwonde National Park, told the AP.

He called the park "an ecological island in a sea of humanity."

African Parks, a non-profit group based in Johannesburg, operates Liwonde and two other reserves. The animals are being moved from Liwonde and Majete parks to a third park, Nkhotakota, where elephant herds have been decimated by poachers, the AP said.

The $1.6 million relocation project, funded by the Dutch PostCode Lottery and the Washington-based Wyss Foundation, is taking place this month, next month and again next year.

Increasing encounters between humans and elephants at Liwonde prompted the project.

"Well over 40 people (have been) killed around Liwonde in the past five years by elephants," Andrew Parker, program director African Parks told CNN.

The answer, leaders hope, lies in moving the elephants from the more crowded parks to Nkhotakota, where elephant numbers have decreased from 1,500 elephants to less than 100 in the past 20 years.

The animals have lost 50 percent of their habitat since 1979, CNN said.

The number of elephants in the wild is estimated to be about 470,000, down from several million last century, BuzzFeed News noted, citing World Wildlife Fund.

Twitter users had mixed feelings about the project.


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About 500 elephants in Malawi are being moved by truck and crane to a sanctuary created for the threatened species as development squeezes them out of their habitat in Malawi's Liwonde National Park.
500 elephants, moved, malawi
358
2016-37-20
Wednesday, 20 Jul 2016 09:37 AM
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