The perilous 1,000-mile journey to save Africa’s endangered black rhinos
28 Oct 2022
In one of the Lubombo Transfrontier Conservation and Resource Area’s most important developments, the government of Mozambique on 14 June 2011 approved the declaration of the Futi Corridor as a protected area.
The Lubombo TFCA has many distinguishing features. Globally it is one of the most striking areas of biodiversity and lies in the Maputaland Centre of Endemism. It also includes five Ramsar sites: Ndumo Game Reserve, the Kosi Bay System, Lake Sibaya, the Turtle Beaches and Coral Reefs of Tongaland, and Lake St Lucia, which at 350 km² is the largest estuary in Africa.
However, as Mr Fernando Sumbana, Minister of Tourism of Mozambique points out: “One of the main reasons for establishing the Lubombo TFCA has always been to reunite the last naturally occurring coastal elephant population in Southern Africa, which historically moved freely along the Futi River and Rio Maputo floodplains. Today, with the approval of of Futi Corridor as a protected area, reuniting these elephants, creating a tourism product and benefitting communities, is set to become a reality.”
The aim is to remove the electrified border fence to allow the elephant and other wildlife to re-establish their ancient migration patterns. Conservation areas along the Futi River will enable communities to become shareholders in conservation and eco-tourism businesses, creating a viable land use option in the region.
The Dutch Postcode Lottery is funding this project with €2 million. Mr Werner Myburgh, CEO of Peace Parks Foundation said: “We remain deeply grateful to the Dutch Postcode Lottery for their support of Peace Parks Foundation’s work. With the declaration of Futi Corridor as a protected area, backed up by the Dutch Postcode Lottery’s tremendous support, work on realising this link between Maputo Special Reserve and Tembe Elephant Park can begin in all earnest.”
Futi corridor stretches from Maputo Special Reserve in Mozambique to Tembe National Park in South Africa and is now an integral part of the Maputo Special Reserve.
At the edge of the corridor the Mozambique government is constructing a 6 000 ha wildlife sanctuary, which will be used to relocate different wildlife species from Tembe Elephant Park. The wildlife sanctuary will be a tourist attraction and will also form the basis from where Maputo Special Reserve’s wildlife population will be rebuilt. The extension of Maputo Special Reserve adds another 24 000 ha to Mozambique’s protected areas.