Restocking of Nkhotakota Game Reserve on track

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By Kelvin Tembo

Efforts to boost large mammal species population in Nkhotakota Game Reserve by African Parks are on track with about 1855 different mammal species that were moved to the reserve doing fine, a development that is bringing back the ecological integrity of the park.

African Parks signed an agreement with the government of Malawi through the Department of National Parks and Wildlife in 2015 to manage, finance, and develop Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve for a period of 20 years on a Public Private Partnership arrangement.

Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve which supports most of the wildlife species of Malawi including elephants and lions faced dwindling numbers of large mammal species before African Parks came in, due to many years of chronic poaching and ineffective law enforcements.

For example in 2014 it was estimated that the reserve was keeping less than 100 elephants despite having the capacity of holding 2000 elephants.

Park Manager at African Parks Samuel Kamoto told Capital FM that since they took over management of the reserve they embarked on translocation of animals and the animals that have been moved into the reserve have settled well in their new surroundings.

“We are making a lot of progress. We have moved 486 elephants, 100 Kudus, 193 buffaloes, 200 sable antelopes, 505 waterbucks, 25 elands, 25 zebras, 122 Impalas and 199 warthogs,” Kamoto said.

“All the animals which were translocated from Liwonde and Majete are doing fine. As for elephants most herds are seen with young ones, a sign that they have settled well. The translocation took place in 2016 and 2017,” he added.

Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve faced a number of challenges that contributed to lowering of animal population among them heavy poaching and encroachment.

In order to achieve their plans of restocking the reserve, on the onset of their interventions, African Parks put in place a lot of programs to support the community for them to feel that the reserve is of benefit to them, and this seem to have worked as Kamoto said the reserve is now secure.

“Given the work that we have done in law enforcement and community engagement, the park is now secure and our expectation is that all translocated animals should be breeding at maximum rate,” Kamoto said.

Going forward Kamoto said they are planning to bring back locally extinct predators in the reserve.

 

 

 

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