The Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (ZimParks) is translocating elephants from Hwange National Park to Chizarira National Park. The initiative which began in August came about as a result of the inadequate water supply in the Hwange National Park.
Hwange National Park is located in the northwest corner of the country about one hour south of the Mighty Victoria Falls. It is the largest Park in Zimbabwe occupying roughly 14 650 square kilometres.
Chizarira National Park is situated on the Zambezi escarpment in the north/west part of Zimbabwe, overlooking the great Zambezi Valley and the upper waters of Lake Kariba. Covering just less than 2,000km² of wild bush, it is Zimbabwe’s third-largest national park and arguably its most remote wilderness area. The Chizarira escarpment rises 500 metres from the Zambezi Valley floor and extends southwards in a series of rolling hills and valleys to eventually merge with the low-lying Busi.
Hwange National Park’s water supply has come under immense pressure; forced to sustain a population of 45000 thousand elephants.On the other Hand Chizarira National Park has a population of 18000 which has been declining due to poaching.
Hwange relies on artificial pumping of borehole water to cater for the burgeoning elephant population, while Chizarira has natural water sources.
Although the translocation process is both costly and time consuming, it will go a long way in relieving pressure on the Hwange National Park water supply, as well as increasing the dwindling elephant population in Chizarira National Park.
However, the long term success of this translocation will depend on many factors, in particular the measures taken to ensure that poaching will not decimate the incoming elephants. Anti-poaching effort will have to be stepped up to guarantee sustainable protection.