By Brecken Branstrator
De Beers is partnering with Peace Parks Foundation to relocate 200 elephants from South Africa, where their population has outgrown their nature reserve, to a protected park in Mozambique.
London—De Beers is embarking on a major conservation effort this summer.

The diamond miner will transport 200 elephants 932 miles from the Venetia Limpopo Nature Reserve in South Africa to Mozambique in an effort to protect the wildlife of the former country and to help restore the latter’s elephant population.

De Beers said it is the largest elephant translocation ever recorded in South African history. It is being done in partnership with Peace Parks Foundation, a non-profit organization focused on the preservation of large functional cross-border ecosystems.

The first phase of the relocation project will see about 60 elephants transported in July and August to Zinave National Park in central Mozambique, which is co-managed by Peace Parks Foundation.

South Africa’s Venetia Limpopo Nature Reserve can accommodate about 60 elephants without any negative effects on the ecosystem. But natural population growth has led to 270 currently on the reserve, risking damage to an ecosystem that also has to sustain a number of wild animals.

Wildlife populations in Zinave National Park, however, have been critically depleted after Mozambique’s civil war. The park has the ability to hold a large number of elephants but is currently only home to 60.

“Ecosystems require a range of fauna and flora to stay balanced. If you remove one species, such as elephants, it has a ripple effect on the whole system,” Peace Parks CEO Werner Myburgh said. “The reintroduction of elephants to Mozambique will bring us a step closer to achieving our dream of restoring the landscape and establishing uninterrupted connectivity with seamless migration of wildlife across the parks within the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Convervation Area.”

20180727 elephant2Zinave National Park in central Mozambique

The remaining elephants will be moved to areas in the country that have sufficient room for them next year. 

Peace Parks Foundation will help De Beers with the animals’ translocation to ensure the elephants’ social groups aren’t disturbed and that they flourish in their new habitat by monitoring their wellbeing over time and enhancing protection efforts.

“There is no greater symbol of Africa than the majestic elephant. For us to be able to help secure their future in Mozambique, while also ensuring other species at our Venetia Limpopo Nature Reserve can flourish, is something every employee is proud of,” De Beers Group CEO Bruce Cleaver said.

“This translocation is born of a deep sense of responsibility and is part of our wider commitment to continue to invest in new and innovative ways to protect the natural world.”

In addition to helping move the elephants, De Beers’ also will give $500,000 to Peace Parks Foundation over five years toward anti-poaching support measures, like hiring and training new park rangers and opening new access roads to increase patrol coverage.

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