SANParks journalist Petro Kotzé has the best job in the world: visiting every nook and cranny of our national parks. She shares a recent experience with us – a wilderness...
A large delegation of media members on a visit to the Kruger National Park, was also received across the border, in the Limpopo National Park (Mozambique) for the first time, this March.
The visit started in Massingir Velho, a village which has moved from 10 km to 70 km away from the Kruger border. The media learned that sustainable livelihoods were not possible within park boundaries, because of human-wildlife conflict and limited development opportunities. While park communities continue to receive 20% of park revenues, resettled communities receive modern housing, education, health services, electricity, water and livelihood development opportunities, including community irrigation schemes
Antonio Abacar, park administrator, welcomed the media and shared Limpopo National Park’s development successes. He also explained how the cross-border cooperation with Kruger has led to improved regional conservation and anti-poaching results.
Antony Alexander, project manager, explained how the voluntary resettlement process allows for the core wilderness zone to be fully protected. This enables increased wildlife numbers, resulting in tourism investment, employment and community revenue sharing. He further stressed that ‘a successful Limpopo National Park will enable a successful Kruger National Park’. As components of Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park, the two parks have had a successful cooperation history that has included joint anti-poaching operations and the translocation of almost 5 000 animals. The reintroduction of wildlife has encouraged more animals, including over 1 000 elephant and over 1 000 buffalo, to cross the border of their own accord.
Also present at the event was Carlos Lopes Pereira, head of law enforcement and anti-poaching at the National Administration for Conservation Areas. Pereira emphasised the Mozambican government’s commitment to conservation, which includes new legislation to clamp down on poachers and traffickers and the deployment of 3 000 anti-poaching personnel in Mozambique, through park, border police and conservation police units. He said: ‘The approach adopted consists of the three Cs – Cooperation, Coordination and Communication’
The excellent cooperation between Kruger and Limpopo includes quarterly park management meetings and daily operational planning and communications along the border, including through a digital radio network, sponsored by the Rhino Protection Programme. The result has been a significant reduction in the number of poachers entering Kruger through the border area
Mozambique proclaimed Limpopo National Park on 27 November 2001 and requested Peace Parks Foundation’s assistance in overseeing its development, as an integral component of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park.