Easing a Pachyderm Bottleneck

In Angola, land mines are removed to protect elephants

02-01-2005 // Heidi Ridgley

CLEARING LAND MINES from Angola, a country torn by civil war, will help more than people. Such action will restore an ancient elephant migration route linking the country with Zambia and Botswana, where elephants have become too abundant.

The high, artificial number of animals has triggered an environmental disaster in Botswana’s Chobe National Park and adjacent areas, where the pachyderms have done serious damage to woody vegetation. Clearing the mines will allow an estimated 120,000 elephants to migrate north and prevent the culling of up to 60,000 individuals within the next few years.

Working with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the California-based Roots of Peace pledged $1 million to the project with the intention of creating a continuous wilderness area in southern Africa, says UNEP’s Nick Nuttall.

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