With too many elephants in the Venetia Limpopo Nature Reserve and close to none in Zinave National Park after a 15-year civil war in Mozambique, an enormous translocation project was planned to help rectify the situation. After months of planning since mid-2018 between De Beers Group, the South African and Mozambique governments, and NGO Peace Parks Foundation, the project finally took off. This situation dates back to a devastating war in 1977 that took around a million human lives which also caused a depletion of protected wildlife, especially elephants.
In early 2018, less than ten elephants were remaining in Zinave National Park, while Venetia Limpopo Nature Reserve was home to more than 270. De Beers Group who are the founders of the overpopulated reserve started the search for a solution, due to concerns that their elephants would trample plant life into desert, resulting in exhaustion of the food supply for the rest of the ecosystem. It was then when they found a better location to rehome 200 elephants in Zinave’s massive, 408,000-hectare reserve.
The tedious and weighty process is supervised by veterinary experts, as the total weight of the elephants amounts to 1.3 million kilograms – equivalent to four Airbus A380 jumbo planes. To tackle the issues with poaching, De Beers Group currently supports the Mozambique Government, Peace Parks Foundation, and other partners to provide funds and employment to the community. As a result, more than 10,000 snares and 157 weapons were voluntarily handed in by the community. With such a positive response, there could be hope again for the future of elephants in Mozambique.