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...
In a very exciting move towards developing Zinave National Park, seven elephants undertook a 1 500 km journey from the Maremani Nature Reserve near Mussina in South Africa. The elephant were kindly donated by the reserve to support the further restocking of Zinave National Park.
Dr Bartolomeu Soto, Director-General of the Mozambican National Administration for Conservation Areas (ANAC) was there to welcome the elephant and said: “Zinave National Park is a crucial component of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation Area (GLTFCA). For Mozambique, it is very important that an interconnectivity is established between the three Mozambican national parks in Great Limpopo, namely Limpopo, Banhine and Zinave national parks. With wildlife dispersal areas between these parks, the communities are set to benefit through increased tourism development and employment, as well as community conservancies, where desired.”
Mr Werner Myburgh, Peace Parks Foundation CEO said: “Developing the Great Limpopo TFCA is about creating ecological linkages across landscapes and supporting responsible economic relationships between protected areas and people. By creating and conserving core conservation areas and corridors to re-establish links and by protecting keystone species such as elephant to maintain these systems, a very definite halt can be placed on the global trend of mass species die-off and loss of functional ecosystems providing food, energy, medicines, clean water and air. The release of the first seven elephants back into Zinave is yet another important building block in attaining this vision.”
The translocation follows on the Mozambican Minister of Land, Environmental and Rural Development, Mr Celso Correia, and Peace Parks Foundation CEO, Mr Werner Myburgh, signing a co-management agreement on 22 September 2015. In terms of the agreement, ANAC and Peace Parks Foundation will develop Zinave National Park as an integral component of GLTFCA, the larger area surrounding the core transfrontier park. Part of this agreement is the restocking of Zinave with wildlife to restore ecosystems, entice tourists and benefit local communities.
The first wildlife to restock the park came from Kruger National Park and included 30 zebra in 2011, and 23 zebra, 42 blue wildebeest and seven giraffe in 2012. The wildlife was kindly donated by South African National Parks and the translocations were funded by Peace Parks Foundation.
This year’s translocation will, in addition to the elephant, include 200 waterbuck, 50 reedbuck and 50 warthog from Gorongosa National Park in Mozambique. A translocation of up to 6 000 animals in total is planned from 2017 to 2020 and will include more giraffe, zebra, wildebeest, impala, kudu, eland, buffalo and elephant.
For the time being, all the animals are being released into the 5 934 ha sanctuary that has an electrified fence. Prior to the next translocations, the sanctuary will be expanded to approximately 15 000 ha as part of the overall park development, which will also include infrastructure, tourism and community development projects.
Issued by Peace Parks Foundation / Pictures by Antony Alexander and Bernard van Lente