De Beers moves 200 elephants from SA to Mozambique

Will Ross

Africa editor, BBC World Service

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The mining company De Beers says it has started an operation to move 200 elephants from a nature reserve it owns in South Africa to neighbouring Mozambique.

De Beers says its Venetia Limpopo Reserve is currently home to more elephants than the ecosystem can sustain, whilst across the border Mozambique’s elephant numbers have been declining.

Moving 200 elephants over a distance of 1,500 km (932 miles) is an ambitious task.

De Beers says it has just started relocating the first 60. Working with the Peace Parks Foundation, the animals in the Venetia Limpopo Nature Reserve will be tranquilised before being loaded onto lorries and driven across the border to Zinave National Park.

Mozambique’s own elephant population was decimated during the country’s civil war that ended in 1992. But it is feared that since 2010 the country’s elephant population has halved due to rampant poaching partly fuelled by China’s demand for ivory.

De Beers was founded by British imperialist Cecil Rhodes and until recently controlled the global trade in diamonds.