The 408 000ha Zinave National Park is still recovering from a civil war that left it almost devoid of wildlife.
The animals were donated by South Africa’s Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) to Mozambique’s Ministry of Land, Environment and Rural Development in a collaborative effort between the governments to further develop key wildlife areas as part of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation Area, spanning Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe.
Kruger National Park managing executive Glenn Philips said in protecting key natural resources, one can no longer have a fortress conservation mentality, and the Great Limpopo Transfrontier treaty is leading the way towards the formulation of a new conservation management plan for Kruger National Park that looks beyond to the borders.
“If we can share our surplus wildlife with our neighbours, and in so doing, eventually share our 1.9 million annual visitors into Mozambique, it will not only benefit the people of Mozambique but contribute to a balanced and sustainable ecotourism system for the whole region,” he said.
Through the support received from the DEA and SANParks, a total of 291 impala, 153 wildebeest and 85 zebra were moved from Kruger National Park into Zinave this year, with Peace Parks Foundation funding the translocation costs.
The overall goal is to reintroduce 7500 game animals into Zinave over the next five years, and to date over 1300 animals have been rewilded to the park. Mozambique’s National Administration of Conservation Areas director-general, Mateus Mutemba, extended his gratitude to South Africa for its support in re-wilding Zinave.
“We strongly believe that a decade from now, Zinave will play an important role in the biodiversity economy of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier area, being a source of employment, a source of living, for the children of Zinave, and they will take pride in conserving the region’s nature.
"Well protected and existing in harmony with man, wildlife populations will thrive, and soon Zinave will be able to also supply wildlife to other areas in the country.
“Nature has been taking care of human beings since the dawn of time. As long as we continue protecting it and integrate our people in biodiversity economy-related programmes alongside conservation education, we can succeed,” Mutemba said.
The animals are first released into a 18 600ha fenced sanctuary where they can acclimatise to their new environment.
Each animal plays a critical role in keeping the biodiversity of a conservation area healthy and balanced.
Through various translocations over the past couple of years, numerous animal herds can now be seen in the area and are doing very well.