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Marking a milestone in the development of Maputo Special Reserve, its headquarters were opened by the Mozambican Minister of Tourism, Mr Carvalho Muaria on Friday, 14 February 2014.
The headquarters, funded by the World Bank, include entrance gates at Futi and at Gala, both with a reception office, boom gate, kiosk and restrooms for visitors. The head office complex includes 11 offices, while housing comprises two houses for senior staff and dormitories for female and male field rangers. Ranger stations were also built at Phusa and at Gueveza.
Present at the opening event were Minister Muaria, the Governor of Maputo Province, Mrs Maria Jonas, the Administrator of Matutuine District, Mr Avelino Mutchine, the Director-General for the National Agency for Conservation Areas (ANAC), Mr Abdalah Mussa and the Head: Transfrontier Conservation Areas Coordination Unit in the Ministry of Tourism, Dr Afonso Madope, as well as representatives of the local communities. Peace Parks Foundation was represented by Project Manager Mr Arrie van Wyk.
Minister Muaria said: “The infrastructure will allow Maputo Special Reserve to function properly. It will also improve the living conditions of staff, thereby positively influencing their performance.”
“My plea is to the communities to work with the reserve’s management to develop the reserve as a tourist destination and to please refrain from illegal hunting, as this will affect the development of the reserve. It is tourism that will create jobs and bring development to the region as a whole.”
Mrs Maria Jonas said: “In recent years, significant strides have been made to develop Maputo Special Reserve as part of the core protected area of the Lubombo Transfrontier Conservation and Resource Area. These headquarters represent an important further step.”
“In May 2011 the headquarters for the adjacent Ponta do Ouro Partial Marine Reserve were opened. Furthermore almost 1 000 animals have been translocated from South Africa to Maputo Special Reserve by Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife to develop a tourism product. The animals are guarded by field rangers who have been trained and who are assisted with a microlight, as well as with radios, vehicles and equipment. Numerous community projects are also being developed. Thank you very much to our partner Peace Parks Foundation and to the donors who are contributing to developing Maputo Special Reserve.”
Maputo Special Reserve is an important component of the Usuthu-Tembe-Futi TFCA, one of the five sub-TFCAs of the Lubombo TFCA. It conserves the exceptional biodiversity of a coastal zone that lies in the Tongaland-Pondoland bio-geographical region and that enables linkages between marine, coastal and inland components. It supports an exceptionally high number of endemic species and is part of the Maputaland-Pondoland-Albany Biodiversity Hotspot, thus part of one of earth’s 25 biologically richest and most endangered terrestrial ecoregions.
In 2005 the World Bank donated $6 million to Mozambique to develop Maputo Special Reserve, which includes infrastructure and accommodation upgrades, and the construction of headquarters and accommodation facilities.
To supplement this, a co-financing agreement between Mozambique and Peace Parks Foundation was signed in 2006 for the development, management and extension of Maputo Special Reserve. A park management unit was also appointed to oversee the process.