Having been to South Africa on a couple of occasions and having had the great fortune of going on Safari and seeing the wildlife in person — including the spectacular elephants — the announcement by De Beers that it is partnering with Peace Parks Foundation in order to help relocated 200 elephants really touched my heart. It seems the elephant population in South Africa is at its largest ever, and these elephants need a lot of space. As such, approximately 200 will be moved nearly 1,000 miles away from their current residence in the Venetia Limpopo Nature Reserve to the Zinave National Park in Mozambique, where the elephant population has steadily declined.
De Beers, diamond miner headquartered in London, is supporting the project, which will happen in several phases. The first phase is the relocation of 60 elephants this month, all co-managed by Peace Parks Foundation. While it may seem cruel to relocate elephants who know the current park as their home, there seems to be no choice. According to the current Reserve, it’s ecosystem, which also sustains other wild animals, can really only sustain about 60-70 elephants. Currently 270 elephants live there. Conversely, Mozambique’s Park can hold several hundred elephants, but currently plays home to only about 60.
With the support of De Beers, the Peace Parks Foundation will carefully transport and relocate the elephants, making sure that their social groups are not broken up, as elephants are very socially oriented and tend to stay in groups. Peace Parks will also monitor the elephants, their well-being and adjustment to ensure that they flourish in their new surroundings. De Beers is also donating $500,000 to Peace Parks Foundation over the coming years to be used toward anti-poaching efforts that including adding park rangers and patrolling access roads.
“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,” says Bruce Cleaver, CEO of De Beers.