Government requires over K1 billion to relocate over 200 elephants from Liwonde National Park to Kasungu and Nkhotakota, director of parks and wildlife Brighton Kumchedwa has said.
Speaking in an interview on Wednesday, Kumchedwa said relocation of the elephants is a complex exercise that would require a lot of money.
“We got a quotation from Conservation Solutions of Africa in 2013 and we were quoted K500 million to relocate 100 elephants in 2013. Since we might be required to relocate over 200 elephants, we are estimating that we need over K1 billion,” said Kumchedwa.
He said the department will embark on a feasibility study of Nkhotakota Game Reserve and Kasungu National Park to see where the elephants will be quarantined before being released into the wilderness.
“What we do is that we construct Bomas at the place where we catch the elephants and at the place where we relocate them. The Bomas also require a lot of money to be constructed and that is why we are saying that we will not be able to move the elephants this year,” said Kumchedwa.
According to Kumchedwa, another factor that will make movement of elephants tough this year is the weather since the animals are supposed to be moved when it is cold.
“We will continue trying our best to make sure that we reduce human and animal conflict by sensitising people around game reserves not to poach because this is a huge problem. We can easily move the animals during the onset of rains or between June and July,” said Kumchedwa.
Addressing members of the parliamentary committee on Industry, Trade and Tourism on Monday Minister of Information, Tourism and Culture Kondwani Nankhumwa agreed with Kumchedwa that poaching has reached alarming levels.