Media Release: Kruger elephants move to Mozambique
16 September 2008
Six bull elephants will be relocated to Gorongosa National Park (GNP) in Mozambique from the Kruger National Park (KNP) this month as part of a plan to restore the 350 000 hectare park to its former glory.
“I trust that this move will further cement the regional conservation role that the KNP has assumed since the establishment of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park and that it will improve the already good working relationship we have with Mozambique,” said KNP Managing Executive Dr Bandile Mkhize.
“The SANParks Veterinary Wildlife Services Game Capture Team lead by Dr Markus Hofmeyr captured four young adult bull elephants yesterday (Monday September 15, 2008) and two adult bull elephants are due to be captured on Monday September 22, 2008 in the southern area of the KNP. “We will be using our standard elephant capturing technique of darting the elephants from a helicopter and, after a brief diagnosis of their general health, they’ll be loaded onto trucks and transported by road to Gorongosa,” he explained.
Private game capture company Specialist Game Services will then transport the elephants to GNP near the Mozambican coastal town of Beira, a distance of over 1 300 kilometres.
SANParks is no stranger to these long-distance animal translocations, having itself translocated rhino to Zambia in 2003, 2006 and 2008, rhino to Botswana in 2003 and 2004 and captured Lichtenstein’s hartebeest in Malawi and translocated them to the KNP as long ago as 1985.
The restoration of Gorongosa is currently underway and is supported by conservation organisation Carr Foundation. This United States-based non-profit organisation recently signed a 20-year co-management agreement with the Mozambican government to run the park and has invested more than US$10-million to date.
The 2008 KNP elephant population census is currently underway. Last year’s census revealed a total of 13 050 animals. "According to the Elephant Population Norms and Standards Document, which was released earlier this year, translocation is an acceptable means of population control. I thus believe that by helping to re-establish viable elephant populations in other areas, we are not only bringing slight relief to our situation but also helping to repopulate depleted populations elsewhere on the sub continent,” concluded Dr Mkhize.
This elephant translocation is just one project where the KNP and GNP are working together for conservation. Fifty buffalo were translocated from the Skukuza Boma Complex to Gorongosa during 2006 and these will be joined by another consignment of buffalo during 2009.
Raymond Travers, Media Relations Practitioner, Kruger National Park. Contact: Tel: (013) 735 4116, cell: 082 908 2677 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
William Mabasa, HOD: Public Relations and Communication, Kruger National Park. Contact: Tel: (013) 735 4363, cell: 082 807 3919 or email: email@example.com