Banhine National Park was established in 1973 to conserve the giraffe and ostrich populations found there. Unfortunately, these, as well as other wildlife populations once found here, were nearly eradicated during the war and commercial poaching activities.
In July 2018, Peace Parks Foundation and Mozambique’s National Administration for Conservation Areas (ANAC) formalised their long-standing alliance in developing Banhine National Park with the signing of a formal partnership agreement.
In order to rehabilitate and restore the park, it is a priority for both ANAC and Peace Parks Foundation to secure the area in preparation for the reintroduction of wildlife. To kick-start this process, a Law Enforcement Operations Manager was appointed by the Foundation. He is responsible for supporting the park warden in implementing a $1 million anti-poaching project over three years. Ten new additional ten new rangers have also joined the team after completing a gruelling ranger training course presented by the Southern African Wildlife College funded by Peace Parks Foundation. The anti-poaching unit has already achieved great successes here. Co-operation with local leaders and turning arrested poachers into allies have led to the recovery of more than 79 home-made rifles and the removal of more than 500 snares.
As the park becomes more secure, animal translocations are planned for Banhine. Rewilding wildlife will rejuvenate the ecosystem, and stimulate the park’s eco-tourism potential.
Over the past five years, two PhD researchers have identified and assessed potential corridors linking Limpopo and Banhine national parks. Along with the recent realignment of the Banhine National Park borders, the Limpopo National Park management has initiated the demarcation and protection of these corridors to develop ecological interconnectivity in Great Limpopo.
“Last year two hippos moved from the Limpopo National Park to Banhine’s central pan system and recently, an elephant bull, that was collared in Limpopo National Park last year, walked to Banhine through a section along the Limpopo river that has been kept clear of human development, giving scientific evidence of the functionality of corridor linkages between the National Parks”
Antony Alexander, Peace Parks Foundation Senior Project Manager
Funding is being utilised to put in place socio-economic development and alternative livelihoods programmes for the communities living in and adjacent to Banhine, and rely on the land and the environment for their daily subsistence. This component is currently in a feasibility phase.