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Friday, 5 October, 2001, 11:08 GMT 12:08 UK
World's biggest elephant move starts
Nelson Mandela lauches the scheme
The electric fences are being taken down
Former South African leader Nelson Mandela has marked the first step towards the creation of the world's largest nature reserve by welcoming a group of seven elephants into Mozambique.

In all, 1,000 elephants are being moved from South Africa in the world's biggest elephant relocation programme.

Scientists working in South Africa's Kruger National Park say its 9,000 elephants are all it can take.

First elephants to arrive in Mozambique
A change of country but no change of scenery
They are moving elephants over the border into Mozambique, where elephants were poached almost to extinction during the civil war.

The elephants are tranquillised before being loaded by cranes into trucks and taken across the border.

It is the biggest transfer of wildlife since thousands of animals were moved to make way for Zimbabwe's Kariba dam in the 1960s.

The Kruger park borders Mozambique and Zimbabwe.

Border fences are being dismantled to restore traditional seasonal migration routes for wild animals across what will be the Gaza/Kruger/Gonarezhou Transfrontier Conservation Area.

It is hoped that this may help to create healthier breeding groups as well as attracting more tourists to the region.

The new park will cover nearly 100,000 square kilometers

Park map

The BBC's Andrew Webb
"The new reserve is the sign of new links being forced between nations"
See also:

04 Sep 00 | Africa
SA elephants transfer to Angola
14 Feb 00 | Africa
Elephants kill endangered rhino
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