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Planet Ark World Environment News Botswana Donates 500 Elephants to Mozambique

Date: 06-Sep-04
Country: MOZAMBIQUE

Mozambique's national director of conservation areas, Afonso Madope, said the elephants would be transported by land to the Gorongosa National Park in the central Mozambican province of Sofala after they were captured.

The government plans to repair roads and paths in Gorongosa and develop a tourist park for which an international tender would be made, Madope said.

"Botswana has agreed to donate 500 elephants. We are discussing funding with donors necessary to get the animals into Mozambique," Madope said.

The elephants would be moved the 1,120 miles to Mozambique from Botswana before the end of the year at a cost of $2,000 per animal, he said.

Botswana is believed to be home to more than 100,000 elephants and previously donated elephants to neighbors such as Angola, eager to rehabilitate national parks wrecked by nearly three decades of civil war.

Wildlife in Gorongosa suffered a massive decline in numbers in the 1980s due to poaching during Mozambique's civil war that ended when the then-rebel Mozambique National Resistance (Renamo) signed a peace agreement in 1992.

The last count in 2001 put Gorongosa's elephant population at 111, down from 7,000 in 1979, government data showed.

The number of impalas, used as meat during the civil war, slumped to only 38 from 10,000 in 1979.

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Reuters
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