African Parks has said a herd of seven elephants last weekend strayed from Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve and destroyed gardens in Traditional Authority (T/A) Nthondo in Ntchisi District.

African Parks extension officer Maria Munkhuntha said the elephants, which destroyed a three-quarter acre of maize and groundnuts, have now been relocated to the wildlife reserve.

“The company had to use a helicopter to trace the elephants to get them back to the reserve,” she said.

African Parks community extension manager Obedi Mkandawire said such incidents are regarded as natural disasters and it is the responsibility of the Department of Disaster Management Affairs (Dodma) to determine whether the affected families should get relief assistance.

But Ntchisi district commissioner James Manyetera said his office is yet to get a report on the matter before it can contact Dodma.