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Rewilding Mozambique's Elephant Coast

17 August 2017

As part of ongoing efforts to develop the Lubombo Transfrontier Conservation and Resource Area, a further 2 300 animals are being translocated to Maputo Special Reserve in Mozambique during 2017. As of today (17 August) just more than 50% of these animals have already been released: 281 zebra, 131 wildebeest, 50 kudu, 450 impala, 251 nyala and 265 waterbuck.
Dr Bartolomeu Soto, Director-General of Mozambique’s National Administration for Conservation Areas, commented: “One of the major success stories in southern Africa has been transfrontier conservation development. It has benefitted conservation, while at the same time empowering rural communities and strengthening good neighbourliness. We thank our partners in Lubombo Transfrontier Conservation and Resource Area for their continued support in developing the Mozambican components of Lubombo, particularly Peace Parks Foundation, with which we’d signed a co-financing agreement to jointly develop and manage the reserve in 2006.”

From 2010 to 2016, 1 701 animals were translocated to the reserve in a multi-year endeavour supported by the governments of Mozambique, Swaziland and South Africa, conservation agency Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, and organisations Peace Parks Foundation and the World Bank.

The wildlife species translocated since 2010 have been increasing steadily. This is thanks to the sterling work by conservation managers, field rangers and communities protecting the animals.

At the end of September last year, an aerial census was conducted to determine the status of the large herbivore species in Maputo Special Reserve. The census estimated 6 231 animals in the reserve.

This year, more waterbuck, zebra, kudu, nyala, wildebeest, impala, giraffe, and warthog are being translocated to Maputo Special Reserve. The animals are being brought in from Gorongosa National Park in Mozambique, as well as from reserves in South Africa and Swaziland. There are also plans to translocate buffalo back into the reserve, which will be brought in all the way from Namibia.

Peace Parks Foundation CEO Werner Myburgh remarked: “Maputo Special Reserve and its coastline, Ponta do Ouro Partial Marine Reserve, are set to become major tourist destinations thanks to a new tarred road and bridge that will cut travel time from Maputo to the reserves to just 45 minutes.”

Maputo Special Reserve is one of the most scenic conservation areas in Africa with numerous freshwater inland lakes, coastal dune closed canopy forests and large open plains.

By adding another 2 300 animals to reserve this year, it will completely transform this conservation area into a sought after wildlife destination. The next step will be to start investing into more tourism infrastructure.
The World Bank, through its support to the MozBio project, is also a longstanding partner in the development of the Maputo Special Reserve. Mr Madyo Couto, Project Coordinator of the MozBio project, explained: “Maputo Special Reserve stands to become a conservation success story in Mozambique benefiting both nature and people. The MozBio project supports operations, infrastructure development, communications, community development and also the relocation of wildlife to the Reserve.”

- With grateful acknowledgement of World Bank and Mozbio for their continued support.