African Parks are pleased the announce the arrival of thirteen giraffe into Malawi’s Majete Wildlife Reserve. This translocation is truly historic as the first ever introduction of the species into Malawi’s National Parks and Wildlife Reserves.
Following months of meticulous planning, a 2,500-km journey (one of the farthest of its kind) was undertaken in early October to transport a group of nine giraffe from a private reserve in South Africa northwards to Malawi. An additional four giraffe were moved from a private collection in Malawi, to supplement the introduction, making up the 13 animals that were safely released into Majete Wildlife Reserve.
“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” said Craig Hay, the Park Manager for Majete Wildlife Reserve. “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 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”.
While southern Africa has a robust population of giraffe, very few are present in Malawi, with this translocation bringing national numbers to just over 30 animals. The translocation of South African giraffe to Majete hopes to establish a viable population of the species to support their conservation across the region.
Majete has been managed by the conservation non-profit African Parks in partnership with Malawi’s Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW) since 2003. Their collaborative efforts have been hailed as a huge success story for the restoration of its wildlife and the benefits the park provides to local communities.
“Introducing giraffe in Majete is an example of how collaborative partnerships can make a difference to save giraffe in the wild before it is too late,” said Dr Julian Fennessy, Director of the Giraffe Conservation Foundation. “For more than a year we have planned this conservation intervention, first understanding the genetics of the current populations in Malawi to ensure that those brought in are the same species. Our efforts over the last few years have helped to reintroduce giraffe and augment populations in a number of locations within historical ranges throughout the continent, and in turn to better conserve the habitat they live in. Without giraffe, the African landscape is a poorer place and we continue to work with great partners to make a difference.”
Creating safe wilderness areas for giraffe populations to grow is essential to securing their future in Africa. In Majete, the founding of a new population forms part of the reserve’s development as a flagship wildlife sanctuary, benefitting local communities and affording people in Malawi the opportunity to see the world’s tallest land mammal while supporting giraffe conservation efforts.
Learn more about the translocation in this video.