New Strategy to Control Human-Wildlife Conflicts Around KU National Park
The Department of National Parks and Wildlife is introducing Satellite Collar system in Kasungu National Park to help minimize cases of human-wildlife- conflicts around the park.
DNPW Central region Division Manager, Timothy Chana told Zodiak Online that the target is to reduce conflicts between humans and elephants as the department in collaboration with African Parks and the International Fund for Animal Welfare is bringing into the park additional elephants and other animal species close to 500 in number.
Currently he said the gadgets for the system have already been procured with support from IFAW.
“Twenty-five collars have already been procured to implement this strategy. We are just waiting for the elephants to wear them for us to be proactive in controlling their movements in the park,” he said.
He added “Once the collars are introduced, we will integrate them to our radio system which will be sending coordinates to follow the animals when they are approaching park boundaries and drive them back before they cross over to nearby villages.”
One of the traditional leaders around the park Senior Group Village Headman Machilika bears testimony to attacks by animals from the park especially elephants which damage property and in worst scenarios, kill people.
He conceded that in some instances, villagers are attacked because they have created settlements very close to the park.
“Population growth has over the years been compelling villagers to encroach the land around the park which by law is not supposed to be used by humans in search for land for cultivation,” he explained.
DNPW is introducing into the park animal species including 250 elephants from Liwonde National Park with K1.5 billion support from IFAW and African Parks.
The exercise is part of IFAW’s five-year USAID funded project to revive Kasungu National Park for tourism and growth of the country’s economy.
“Translocation of animals from Liwonde follows completion of a 40-kilometer electric fence we have erected around the park which suffered heavy poaching in recent years and impacted on tourism,” explained Patricio Ndadzera, IFAW’s Chief of Party for Malawi and Zambia.
Besides elephants, the translocation exercise running from June 27 to July 30 will include Impalas and Sable Antelopes.
Records show that Kasungu National Park has a capacity to accommodate 1, 000 elephants but at the moment it has only 120.