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Elephants moved to end clashes with farmers

Malawi Elephants
A tranquilized elephant is winched aboard a flatbed truck on Monday for the journey to a protected area in Malawi.IFAW via AP
/ Source: The Associated Press

Efforts are under way to end a deadly battle between farmers and elephants in a rural area of Malawi.

The International Fund for Animal Welfare says it is doing that by moving more than 60 elephants in the southern African country. They are being taken from Phirilongwe village, south of Lake Malawi, to the Majete Wildlife Reserve.

Jason Bell-Leask, a director for IFAW, said the evacuation began Monday with nine elephants, including three young calves, that were tranquilized and lifted by a crane onto trucks for the six-hour journey to the reserve.

Local farmers sometimes use violence to protect their crops from raids by the elephants, and at least 10 people and a number of elephants have recently died in such confrontations.

"For years the herd has been maimed by local villagers, sometimes using appallingly cruel methods to protect their crops and granaries from raids by the elephants," said Bell-Leask. "Our team on the ground reports that one of the elephants darted this morning is missing the bottom portion of her trunk — probably as a result of a snare."

The relocation of the dozens of elephants is expected to take about three weeks.