Improved Wildlife Management Plan Brings Hope to Mozambique
(White River, South Africa.) Today, the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) and the Mozambique Ministry of Tourism (MITUR) signed a historic Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that solidified and formalized their longstanding partnership to improve Mozambique's wildlife conservation. This is great news for Mozambique whose wildlife was decimated during the civil wars of the 1970s and 1980s and requires concerted efforts to help in its restoration and conservation.
"We recognize that wildlife conservation, in conjunction with ecotourism and community development, will benefit Mozambique in the short- and long-term. We are happy to be working in partnership with AWF to protect our natural resources and environment and improve the lives of our citizens, based on what is stated in the Government Programme," said Mr. Fernando Sumbana, Jr., Minister of Tourism of Mozambique.
With this MOU in place, AWF and MITUR will be working together on a variety of conservation initiatives within AWF's Limpopo and Zambezi Heartlands. These vast and precious conservation landscapes are rich in biodiversity, making them particularly important conservation targets for Mozambique in particular and the region in general. Conservation of the wildlife and wild lands in these regions will open new economic opportunities that will benefit the local people.
Banhine National Park, located in the Limpopo Heartland, will be one of the top conservation priorities under this new partnership. Banhine National Park is an important wetland and hosts the endangered wattled cranes, a wide variety of migratory birds, large ungulates and Killifish. Together, AWF and MITUR will work on restoring this park. Priority projects will include for example aerial surveys and the establishment of a scientific research center. AWF and MITUR will also be developing strategies to engage communities and the private sector in the management of Banhine National Park, with the goal of making the park self-sustainable through ecotourism and other activities that will help generate income from its natural resource base.
In the Zambezi Heartland, AWF and MITUR will work to develop land use and resource management plans that promote economic growth without compromising the area's rich biodiversity. Initial projects include assessing the aquatic resources in the Cahora Bassa Reservoir, including fishing and lakeshore utilization.
"Working with the government and local leaders, we plan to establish community organizations to manage fisheries, improve fish processing technologies, protect the existing species, and create ecotourism opportunities within the Zambezi Heartland," said, Dr. Helen Gichohi, Vice President of Program, AWF.
As outlined in the memorandum of understanding, AWF and MITUR will collaborate to improve conservation management in these two priority landscapes, develop ecotourism opportunities, support community involvement in conservation management and fundraising efforts.