500 Elephants on the move in Malawi

In the largest elephant translocation ever undertaken, 520 elephant were translocated between reserves in Malawi


African Parks; Dutch Postcode Lottery, the Wyss Foundation, The Wildcat Foundation, Donna and Marvin Schwartz, Stichting Dioraphte, Malawi’s Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW); and the People’s Postcode Lottery


We were honored to play a crucial role in one of the largest elephant translocations in history, successfully translocating more than 500 elephants, in an epic journey to protect the species and repopulate a large reserve in Malawi  

This project was the culmination of years of preparation, months of planning both African Park’s and our side, and spanned a period of 2 years to complete. In total, 520 elephants were successfully moved from Liwonde National Park and Majete Wildlife Reserve in Malawi, and were released in Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve.

The translocation had two objectives: to restock Nkhotakota and to relieve pressure from the elephant surplus in Liwonde and Majete. Given Malawi is a densely-populated, agro-based country, ecological corridors no longer exist to allow for natural movement for wildlife, therefore this ‘human-assisted migration’ was needed to provide the best chance of a long-term and sustainable future for these elephants.

The historic translocation began in the July/ August of 2016 where 261 elephants were moved from Liwonde to Nkhotakota along with over 1,100 game animals to restock the reserve. The translocation resumed in June, July and August of 2017 where 225 more elephants were moved along with additional game animals to Nkhotakota. In addition, 34 elephants were also moved from Liwonde to Nyika National Park, bringing the total to 520.  

African Parks, the custoidans of all of these animals, are responsible for managing approximately 90% of Malawi’s elephant population, as well as almost 15,000 elephants among all the parks under their management across Africa.

Watch their story here...