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African Parks, the conservation non-profit organisation headed by Prince Harry, has just announced the historic translocation of thirteen giraffe into Malawi’s Majete Wildlife Reserve. It’s the first-ever introduction of this species into any of Malawi’s National Parks or Reserves.

The task was a monumental one, with months of meticulous planning needed to ensure the animals’ health and safety. Nine of the giraffes were moved a remarkable 2500km by road from a private reserve in South Africa, while four others were moved from a private collection in Malawi.

Craig Hay, Majete Wildlife Reserve’s park manager, noted: ‘Majete contains ideal habitat for giraffe as well as the needed protection to provide them and all the other wildlife here the security they need. We hope to establish a healthy population to increase biodiversity here, and boost tourism to increase Majete’s economic value for local people, while at the same time support regional efforts to conserve this magnificent species. For fifteen years, our partnership with the DNPW [Department of National Parks and Wildlife] has driven Majete’s evolution from a depleted landscape into a vibrant ecosystem, bringing Africa’s most iconic mammals back to Malawi where people from around the globe and importantly Malawian nationals can enjoy and benefit from their own natural and wild heritage.’

Although Southern Africa has healthy numbers of giraffe, the same can’t be said for Malawi, with just over a dozen of the species existing within its borders before this historic translocation. It’s hoped this recent arrival will establish a sustainable population that can start to reproduce and further increase the population in the years ahead.

African Parks has managed Majete Wildlife Reserve in partnership with Malawi’s DNPW for 15 years, and their joint efforts have seen numerous other species reintroduced, including black rhinos in 2003, elephants in 2006 and lions in 2012. The once degraded reserve now hosts the Big Five, as well as a healthy population of numerous other species. And the organisation is rightly proud of its record against poaching, with no rhinos or elephants falling victim since they have been on watch. The achievement is paying off, with tourism numbers up 14% since last year, something that will ensure the long-term sustainability of the reserve itself.

Source: Lonely Planet