Lubombo TFCA, Maputo Special Reserve

Approval Of A Joint Operational Strategy For Core Area Of Usuthu-Tembe-Futi TFCA

Members of the Lubombo Commission

Exciting news in the Usuthu-Tembe-Futi TFCA, a sub-TFCA of the Lubombo TFCA, is that a joint operational strategy for the Maputo Special Reserve/Tembe Elephant Park component was signed into force by the relevant authorities and approved by the Lubombo Commission on 28 March. This enables the two park management teams to undertake joint and collaborative activities.

The joint operational strategy will go a long way in the planning, addressing and reporting on matters of a joint or collaborative nature. This will include the ongoing translocation of wildlife from KwaZulu-Natal reserves to Maputo Special Reserve, joint ranger training and wildlife censuses. The strategy also calls for the establishment of a park management committee that will be responsible for joint planning and actions and will include the development of joint management plans, such as for key species.


Maputo Special Reserve in Mozambique and the Tembe Elephant Park in South Africa form the core area of the Usuthu-Tembe-Futi TFCA between Mozambique, South Africa and Swaziland and forms part of the larger Lubombo Transfrontier Conservation and Resource Area, which was established through protocols signed by the partner countries in 2000.

Maputo Special Reserve was proclaimed in 1932 to protect the elephant population in the area. In the 1960s the protection was extended to other species as well, as a result of growing recognition of the reserve’s biodiversity significance. The purpose of the reserve is now regarded as a meaningful contribution to the protected areas system of Mozambique by conserving the exceptional biodiversity of this coastal zone which lies in the Maputaland Centre of Endemism and enables linkages between marine, coastal and inland components.

In 2011, a crucial transboundary initiative saw the extension of the reserve along the Futi Corridor to link up with Tembe Elephant Park that had been established in 1983. This was done to protect the crucial habitat, as well as create the possibility of sustaining and restoring the landscape dynamics along an ecosystem that underlies both protected areas, especially the fragmented elephant population.

Also in 2011, the Lubombo Commission requested the Maputo Special Reserve and Tembe Elephant Park management authorities to develop a joint plan, through a consultative process, that would allow for joint and collaborate activities and requested Peace Parks Foundation to assist with this.

The working group decided on the compilation of a joint operational strategy. In addition to addressing the operational level matters such as joint administration, biodiversity management and law enforcement, it will guide the joint and collaborative actions and interventions so that these are undertaken in a structured and coordinated manner. The strategy will also:

  • Guide and facilitate the relationship between the two protected area authorities, thus enabling the establishment of a functional and operational transfrontier protected area across the international border
  • Serve as an accountability tool regarding the efforts of the two authorities. By using the strategy, the Usuthu-Tembe-Futi Task Group and Lubombo Trilateral Commission can report back to the various stakeholders affected by the conservation initiative in an efficient manner.

By Leseho Sello
International Coordinator
Lubombo Transfrontier Conservation and Resource Area


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