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5,000 families flee hungry elephants in Mozambique: report

by Staff Writers
Maputo (AFP) June 5, 2009
A herd of hungry elephants has forced all 5,000 families in a northern Mozambican village to abandon their homes, state media reported on Friday.

The constant incursion of elephants from Quirimbas National Park seeking to food in the fields around the village of Nraha forced the families to relocate to an area with fewer elephants, Noticias newspaper said.

The animals also threatened agricultural production in the village and forced children to abandon their studies to chase elephants out of the fields, the paper said.

Conflicts between people and animals are increasingly common in Mozambique, which has seen a resurgence of wildlife since the end of the country's civil war in 1992.

Elephants, lions, hippos and other wild animals pose a frequent threat to the lives and livelihoods of people who live in and around Mozambique's national parks.

In 2007, wild animals killed 133 people and injured 51 others.

Human-animal conflict presents a tricky problem for Mozambican officials, who have sought to maximize the tourism potential of the country's wildlife while minimizing the destruction the animals can cause.

Quirimbas National Park stretches along the northeast coast of Mozambique. Established in 2002, it protects more than 750,000 hectares of coastal forest and mangroves, coral reefs and animal life.

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