Topsy-turvy: Elephants craned into new home in Malawi national park

·2 min read
The elephants were airlifted to their new home in Kansungu National Park - Marcus Westberg
The elephants were airlifted to their new home in Kansungu National Park - Marcus Westberg

A group of elephants were pictured hanging upside down as they were hoisted by cranes into their new home in Lilongwe, Malawi.

A mammoth 263 elephants and 431 other animals were moved to the Kansungu National Park from Liwonde National Park. Photos show the animals hanging upside down as they were gently moved into their new environment.

The elephants were transported in an effort to maintain healthy habitats in Malawi's national parks, establish viable elephant populations and ensure the prosperity of local communities around the park.

The move was undertaken by Malawi's Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW) in partnership with African Parks and the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW).

The hoisted up by airlifts as they were transported to their new home - Frank Weitzer
The hoisted up by airlifts as they were transported to their new home - Frank Weitzer

"We are overjoyed that the exercise has been completed successfully, thanks to all of the partners who worked hard to finish the work on time," said Brighton Kumchedwa, Malawi’s Director of National Parks and Wildlife.

"The addition of elephants and other wildlife species to Kasungu National Park will benefit Malawi tourism as well as communities through job creation, thereby fuelling a conservation-driven economy."

Additional creatures including impala, buffalo, warthog, sable and waterbuck were successfully transported 217 miles by road.

The elephant population diminished with poaching activity so this exercise hopes to see an increase in the population - Mediadrumimages/Marcus Westberg
The elephant population diminished with poaching activity so this exercise hopes to see an increase in the population - Mediadrumimages/Marcus Westberg

"We have been working in close partnership with the DNPW in Liwonde to generate benefits for people and wildlife since 2015," said Sam Kamoto, African Parks’ country manager.

"Thanks to the Malawian Government’s commitment to this landscape, Liwonde has re-emerged as a park not only hailed for the recovery of its wildlife numbers, but for its international tourism appeal.

"The addition of elephants to Kasungu will help with the overall tourism in the country, contribute to local employment, and fuel a conservation-led economy."

Kasungu is the second largest national park in Malawi, covering 2,100 square kilometres - Frank Weitzer
Kasungu is the second largest national park in Malawi, covering 2,100 square kilometres - Frank Weitzer

Kasungu is the second largest national park in Malawi, covering 2,100 square kilometres, which is four times the size of the creature’s previous habitat at Liwonde National Park.

In the 1970s, Kasungu was home to around 1,200 elephants but poaching saw their numbers dwindle to a shocking figure of just 49 by 2015, making this exercise especially important in the effort to increase the population.