There are some major moves afoot in South Africa and Mozambique, as conservationists and researchers try moving elephants to help protect them from ivory poaching and habitat loss.
So far this summer, the “Moving Giants” project has relocated four dozen elephants from the Venetia Limpopo Nature Reserve (VLNR), a conservation area owned by the De Beers Group in South Africa, to Mozambique’s Zinave National Park. The project is seen as a win-win for the 270 elephants crowded beyond capacity at VLNR, and the ecosystem at Zinave expected to benefit from more elephants.
“The normal processes that elephants drive – recycling vegetation, pushing over trees which creates different opportunities for insect life, hiding places for small animals – these processes driven by elephants are not taking place in Zinave,” says Bernard van Lente, manager of the Peace Parks Foundation site in Mozambique. “Disturbance stimulates diversity – we don’t have these processes without elephants.”
Helicopters, all-terrain vehicles, transport trucks, GPS monitoring and other technologies and techniques are enlisted in the fight to move the elephants safely, said Patricia Sims, co-founder of World Elephant Day celebrated on Sunday. Four were lost during this first phase of the journey, she said.
The three-year project is a collaboration between De Beers, the Mozambique and South African governments, Peace Parks and an NGO that works at Zinave alongside the government. Conservation Solutions is responsible for actually moving the elephants.
DeBeers also is financing USD$500,000 in equipment and training for Zinave to better protect the elephants from illegal wildlife trafficking in their new home.
To learn more about the Moving Giants project, check this link.
Image: Peace Parks