8 March 2007
New community-owned facility to be a catalyst for development
A NEW community-owned conservation area has opened the door towards a much larger park network in Maputaland, including a direct link between the Ndumo Game Reserve and Tembe Elephant Park.
The new 20 000 ha Bhekabantu Community Conservation Area was initiated last week during a sod-turning ceremony by Inkosi Tembe, traditional leader of the Tembe nation. The Bhekabantu conservation area lies inside the narrow wedge of land that separates the two largest conservation areas in the northern Maputaland region the 10 000 ha Ndumo reserve and the 30 000 ha Tembe park.
Once the new Bhekabantu conservation zone is fenced off, there will be just 300m separating the two reserves which are at present managed as "islands of conservation" by the provincial nature conservation agency, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife.
Andrew Venter, Chief Executive of the Wildlands Conservation Trust, which is funding the establishment of the Bhekabantu conservation area, said a crucial animal migration pathway between the two larger parks could become a reality if the adjoining Mbangweni and Ndaba communities agreed to establish similar community owned conservation zones in future.
Apart from the nature conservation benefits of linking up Ndumo and Tembe, the consolidation of several other isolated parcels of land in the region would also create a more viable tourism attraction just south of the Mozambique border. The consolidation would also support the transfrontier conservation project linking KwaZulu- Natal with wildlife land in Swaziland and Mozambique.
The elephants in the Tembe park used to migrate between South African and the Maputo Elephant Reserve, but were eventually confined to this side of the border at the height of the conflict between Frelimo and Rename.
Inkosi Tembe, who dug the first hole to fence off Bhekabantu, has given his support to the latest project that will generate income, initially from hunting revenues.
Venter said the Wildlands Conservation Trust had provided R1.45 million towards the project to cover fencing costs, training for community game guards and other establishment costs.
Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife has agreed to donate game to the Bhekabantu community to stock the new reserve, and there are also plans to drop part of the border fence on Tembe's western boundary.
The community had also reached an agreement with the KZN Hunters and Conservation Association and the first hunts are expected to begin next season. Venter said the project would create up to 150 short-term jobs in the community and up to 50 permanent jobs in the longer term, about 30 of which could be at a new community-owned tourism lodge on the east bank of Phongola River.
At the launch ceremony last week, Municipal Councillor Vetty Mahamba said: "This project comes from the heart of the people of Bhekabantu - but the ultimate challenge for us now is the development of strategies that enable the community to become self-employed and self-reliant."
Sifiso Kheswa, Ezemvelo General Manager for the region, congratulated the Bhekabantu community and encouraged other communities to follow its example.
"I would like to send an invitation to the Mbangweni and Ndaba communities (to develop their own community conservation areas) - because it can only be good for conservation and the development of our people."
Venter said: "This is the first step in a long process, and the trust has looked forward to this day for many years.
The Mercury - 8 March 2007Tony Carnie
28 November 2016Further training to protect turtles
From 25-26 November, Centro Terra Viva presented a refresher training course for the 26 turtle monitors who cover the area from Ponta do Ouro to Ponta Mucombo in Mozambique. The training comprised botread more
15 November 2016Restocking national parks as part of transfrontier conservation development
A further 573 animals have been translocated to Maputo Special Reserve and 310 to Zinave National Park.read more
8 November 2016Wildlife thriving in Maputo Special Reserve, Mozambique
At the end of September, the Maputo Special Reserve/Tembe Elephant Park management committee conducted an aerial census to determine the status of the large herbivore species in Maputo Special Reserveread more
17 August 2016Protecting turtles in Africa's marine TFCA
Ponta do Ouro Partial Marine Reserve had another successful turtle monitoring season this year. The reserve comprises the Mozambican component of the Ponta do Ouro-Kosi Bay TFCA, Africa's first cross-read more
21 March 2016Cross-border cooperation saves marine life
Thanks to the excellent cross-border cooperation between the Ponta do Ouro Partial Marine Reserve in Mozambique and the iSimangaliso Wetland Park in South Africa, a gill net measuring 20 x 3 metres waread more
16 February 2016Protecting turtles and marine life
The turtle monitoring season is in full swing in the Ponta do Ouro Partial Marine Reserve, the Mozambican component of the Ponta do Ouro-Kosi Bay TFCA, Africa's first cross-border marine reserve, in tread more
13 May 2015A transfrontier conservation success story: first phase of wildlife translocations concluded
This month will see the conclusion of the first phase of wildlife translocations to Mozambique’s Maputo Special Reserve with the introduction of 98 zebra and 117 blue wildebeest.read more
13 January 2015Wildlife populations increasing steadily
In 2010 the Mozambican government began a translocation programme to Maputo Special Reserve in order to re-introduce species that were historically found in the area and to develop a tourism product.read more
21 November 2014World Bank Supports Mozambique’s Conservation and Biodiversity Efforts to Reduce Poverty
On 18 November 2014 the World Bank Group’s Board of Executive Directors approved a US$40 million International Development Association (IDA)* grant to support the implementation of the government ofread more
2 September 2014Transfrontier Park Management Committee
Maputo Special Reserve and Tembe Elephant Park now have a transfrontier park management committee to provide direction and guidance on the implementation of the two parks' joint operational strategy.read more