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Elephants move into Mozambique

Elephants are now moving into Mozambique on their own initiative, reports Leon Marshall for Independent Online. Marshall joined South African National Parks' head of veterinary wildlife services Dr Markus Hofmeyr and Willem van Riet, chief executive of the Peace Parks Foundation in a helicopter flight over Limpopo National Park in Mozambique at the end of March.

The passengers in the helicopter saw several elephant herds as well as single bulls moving through the bush. Other species such as giraffe, buffalo, wildebeest, impala and kudu have also entered Kruger's Mozambican neighbour through holes in the fences, usually at river crossings. It is believed that both the plains game and the elephants are responding to the presence of animals that have been translocated into a 30,000ha enclosure in Mozambique over the last two years.

Later this year the enclosure will be opened up to let the animals travel further into Mozambique. Elephant movements into Mozambique may help reduce elephant numbers in Kruger, but the Limpopo National Park is much smaller than Kruger and has less suitable habitat for elephants. It is estimated that it can only hold about 3,000 elephants before they start adversely affecting the environment.

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