Angolan President João Lourenço announced on Sunday that his country will receive 8,000 elephants from Botswana for the repopulation of its national parks.
Both countries belong to the Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (KAZA TFCA), a massive cross-border conservation initiative in Southern Africa that also includes neighbouring Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
While Angola is a signatory to the KAZA TFCA, which is set to become one of the world’s largest conservation areas, it has yet to ratify the agreement. The Angolan president emphasised that he “will do this soon”.
Prior to the 1970s, Angola was home to around 70,000 elephants. A multi-decade civil war, widespread poaching, and habitat loss have since reduced that number to around 3,400.
Botswana, meanwhile, reportedly has too many elephants. Its 130,000-strong population of the world’s largest land mammals has started moving into farmland, causing conflict between people and the animals. The elephants promised to Angola will help rebalance the populations between the two countries.
They could also help kick-start the country’s nascent tourism industry. “With elephants in the parks, we believe that the attraction of tourists will be guaranteed”, said President Lourenço.