Botswana, the country with the largest number of elephants in the world, says it is sending thousands of the mammals back to neighbouring Angola to reduce overpopulation and conflict with farmers.
The southern African country has an estimated 130,000 elephants. However, tens of thousands are actually refugees from Angola’s civil war between 1975 and 2002. They are now expected to repopulate and recolonise their former habitat, in southeast Angola.
Botswana’s National Assembly opposition lawmaker, Kgoborego Nkawana, explains that elephants have a big home range that includes Zimbabwe, Zambia, Namibia and Angola.
“They have always stayed in those areas, but they had to move out of Angola because of the war. Part of the ranges in Angola have to be demined for them to move. I know Angola has been working with the United Nations to try and demine some of these areas,” he said.
“What you have to understand is that elephants do remember their past experiences and they will always try to avoid where there is danger…” he added.