The second translocation of elephants from diamond miner De Beers’ Venetia Limpopo Nature Reserve (VLNR), in South Africa, to Zinave National Parks, in Mozambique, has been completed.
The first herds of elephants were corralled at the VLNR on June 25, before being transported by road for about 1 700 km, and released at Zinave on June 27.
The final herds arrived at Zinave this week, bringing the total number of elephants moved this year to 53.
The translocation is part of a major conservation effort – called ‘Moving Giants’ – that aims to move some 200 elephants over three years in a bid to help secure the future of the VLNR, which, at the beginning of last year, was under threat owing to too many elephants impacting on the broader ecosystem, while also helping to repopulate Mozambique’s elephant population.
During the first phase of the project, 48 elephants were translocated in July and August 2018. These elephants, moved in family groups, consisted of matriarchs, younger males, females, and calves.
Those elephants have been integrating with other herds at Zinave and have been thriving with more space and food now available to them, De Beers said in a statement.
The remaining elephants at the VLNR are expected to be moved to national parks in Mozambique with sufficient elephant carrying capacity from next year.
De Beers Group is partnering with Peace Parks Foundation and Conservation Solutions. Peace Parks co-manages Zinave National Park with the Mozambique government and has ongoing responsibility for the wellbeing of the elephants, ensuring they continue to thrive in their new environment.
De Beers CEO Bruce Cleaver said that, “to be part of a conservation effort that will rehabilitate a national park in Mozambique and, at the same time, ensure that other species at one of our nature reserves in South Africa can flourish makes me feel very proud”.
Peace Parks CEO Werner Myburgh, meanwhile, said the future of the African elephant was bleak in most parts of Africa, except for the Southern Africa region where the outlook on their population numbers was stable and, in some cases, even increasing.
“Zinave National Park . . . is one of these places and brings hope as a new founder population is on the rise. A rare new beginning in today's day and age, where there is space and safety for these gentle giants.”
De Beers Group is also backing up its investment in the elephant translocation initiative by providing Peace Parks with a further $500 000 investment from the Anglo American Foundation to enhance and extend antipoaching support measures.Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online