Last Elephant Bulls Captured in Malawi
This post was filed by the International Fund for Animal Welfare's Neil Greenwood, who has just returned from Malawi.
With all the family groups caught and safely relocated the team have been focusing on the few remaining bulls. Unlike the family groups which can be loaded together the bulls due to their size and temperaments can only be loaded one per crate. This means that only two can be moved down to Majete at a time. These behemoths of the African savannah virtually fill the wake up box when they stand.
Looking back over the past month or so this relocation has been an extraordinary achievement, from our first initial days of surveying the area and meeting with the communities affected by the human – elephant conflict. Both sides had their stories to tell, the villagers in conversation and the elephants in the scare they bore from the conflict.
Through the frustration of the court injunction placed on us preventing the moving of the elephants to Majete to the joy of hearing it had been lifted and the voice of the people being heard by the courts, it’s been a real rollercoster.
I will never forget the sound of the singing and ululating villagers that came to capture team HQ the same evening the injunction had been lifted. The relief on their faces, and their thanks to us for relocating the elephants was humbling.
Then the real work started; the work we had all come to Malawi to do, to capture and relocate the Phirilongwe elephant from Mangochi’s agricultural landscape and its subsistence “gardens” to Majete Wildlife Reserve. With every capture - from the tiny calves staying close to their moms, to the old matriarchs and massive bulls there has a real sense of achievement that what we were doing was making a real different for not only the people of Malawi but their elephants too.
I would like to thank all our supporters who donated to this worthwhile project and have followed the Phirilongwe elephant’s journey. Without your support and commitment to the International Fund for Animal Welfare this would not have been possible, Thank you.