The perilous 1,000-mile journey to save Africa’s endangered black rhinos
28 Oct 2022
The Mozambican government’s translocation programme, a multi-year endeavour now in its third year of operation, recently saw the introduction of 78 wildebeest to Maputo Special Reserve. The plan is to restock the reserve with a founder population of 100 wildebeest during 2013.
These animals will contribute to the improvement of the biodiversity of the reserve and will also enhance the tourism experience of visitors to the reserve. A total of approximately 452 animals, kindly donated by Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, are targeted for translocation to the reserve this year, thereby bringing the total number of animals translocated since 2010 to 909.
Wildebeest historically populated the reserve, but the last remaining animals disappeared in the late 1960s as a result of disease and hunting.
The wildebeest, together with the 2012 introduction of other key species such as zebra and giraffe, form part of the species which were locally extinct but are now being reintroduced to restore the ecosystem dynamics in the reserve. This is a significant milestone in the rejuvenation of the reserve, which forms part of the Usuthu-Tembe-Futi TFCA, one of Lubombo’s sub-TFCAs. The reintroduction of key wildlife species is considered a vital step in the process of restoring the conservation integrity of this prime conservation area and also attests to the spirit of cooperation between Mozambique and South Africa that is helping the Lubombo TFCA emerge as a success story for transboundary conservation.
The wildlife translocation programme is facilitated by Peace Parks Foundation, with the kind support from donors. The 2013 wildlife translocation is funded by the COmON Foundation, with the wildebeest translocation kindly funded by an anonomous donor.