PPF CEO’S 2016 Year-End Message

Children participating in the Great Limpopo conservation awareness programme.

As we near the end of another productive year, on behalf of the Peace Parks team, I’d like to thank all our donors, colleagues, and friends for their continued and unwavering support. Thanks to your generosity and hard work, the peace parks concept is gaining momentum throughout the region. Today the ten peace parks supported by the Foundation span an area of over one million square kilometres (equivalent to the size of France and Spain), which makes this by far the largest terrestrial conservation movement in Africa.

The concept of preserving core areas, creating corridors and protecting keystone species to maintain these ecosystems is now commonly agreed amongst scientists as one of the single most important interventions to safeguard species diversity and functioning ecosystems. In five of these peace parks the heads of state have formally set aside these areas for conservation and sustainable use; and in a further three, Memoranda of Understanding have been entered into at a ministerial level.

Of course, setting aside conservation estate and ensuring its proper management are two very different matters and in 2016, the Foundation has made considerable efforts to help bolster the conservation of various protected areas through training, planning support, equipment, fundraising and management support. To this end, the Foundation is entering into co-management agreements for six national parks. This entails practical hands-on conservation management and anti-poaching interventions as well as the development and implementation of revenue generating business models.

Elephants successfully translocated to Zinave National Park.

Considering that sub-Saharan Africa will again lose over 20,000 elephant and 1,000 rhino to wildlife crime syndicates this year, every effort should be made to counter this loss of Africa’s crown jewels – its wildlife. We have unfortunately also witnessed the wave of elephant poaching reaching South Africa and southern Mozambique, and both Kruger National Park and Limpopo National Park have lost more elephant this year than ever before – close to 70 animals in total. This may not seem like a lot of elephant in a population of close to 18,000, but certainly is indicative of a very concerning trend. Similarly two incidents were recorded this year, where animal carcasses were laced with poison to target lions for their bones (as a replacement for tiger bone that is more and more difficult to obtain) for consumption in Asian countries.

Thank you!
Thank you to the Dutch and Swedish postcode lotteries, as well as to the very many other donors who maintained their funding of Peace Parks Foundation’s work. We are delighted that the Dutch Postcode Lottery has extended its cooperation with the Foundation for another five years, from 2017 to 2021, and we warmly welcome the People’s Postcode Lottery of the UK as a new donor. The late Mrs HCM Coetzee’s bequest is the largest single donation ever made to the Foundation by an individual. The funds will be used in a way that will honour her legacy.

Major developments
Thanks to funding from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, through KfW, Sioma Ngwezi National Park’s headquarters in Zambia were officially opened. The headquarters consist of an office complex and 26 staff houses.

Mr Werner Myburgh (CEO of Peace Parks Foundation) and Dr Morris Mtsambiwa (Executive Director of KAZA TFCA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding to further develop KAZA.

The park is strategically positioned on the borders of Zambia with Namibia and Angola and earmarked for intensive wildlife recovery. With support from WWF–Zambia, an intensive protection zone is also being established within the park. The Foundation signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Kavango Zambezi (KAZA) Transfrontier Conservation Area (TFCA) Secretariat to formalise the longstanding cooperation and partnership to further KAZA’s development.

The KAZA TFCA traditional leaders also met for the first time as a collective grouping, united by common challenges facing the communities that they represent. KAZA TFCA partner countries also approved the establishment of the Secretariat as a legal entity, able to sign contracts, fundraise and appoint staff. This is the first peace park in Africa that will have its own legal persona.

Developing tourist destinations
Since 2001, Peace Parks Foundation has been assisting with the reintroduction of wildlife to areas where they’d been depleted. This year, 573 animals were translocated to Maputo Special Reserve in Lubombo TFCA and 32 to Simalaha Community Conservancy in KAZA TFCA.

In a very exciting step towards developing Great Limpopo TFCA, the larger area surrounding the transfrontier park, 310 animals (including elephant) were translocated to Zinave National Park. Censuses have shown translocated wildlife populations to be increasing steadily. In the case of Maputo Special Reserve, most species introduced have increased by almost 50% and in Simalaha Community Conservancy not one single animal has been lost due to poaching since the formation of the Conservancy four years ago.

Cross-border tourism
Tourism is increasingly seen as a driver of sustainable development and the bourgeoning cross-border tourism industry in a number of TFCAs is bringing much-needed income to the parks and to the local communities.

/Ai-/Ais-Richtersveld now hosts two Desert Knights mountain bike tours per annum, as well as the Desert Kayak Trails. In 2016, the Richtersveld Wildrun became a cross-border trail running event from South Africa to Namibia in the heart of the transfrontier park. In Greater Mapungubwe TFCA, the inaugural Mapungubwe Transfrontier Wildrun saw 37 runners cover 90 km over three days, while 330 participants cycled across 75 km of challenging terrain in the Nedbank Tour de Tuli.

The two colleges supported by the foundation continued to train people to work in the conservation and tourism industries. The SA College for Tourism this year trained 88 hospitality students and 16 trackers, with 92% of graduates employed in the industry.

These graduates, accompanied by Anelle Rautenbach and Malcolm Douglas from SAWC, successfully completed a Higher Certificate in Nature Conservation: Conservation Implementation and Leadership.

The Southern African Wildlife College trained another 48 students in the Higher and Advanced Certificate Programmes in Nature Conservation and TFCA management and 951 students in a variety of short courses and learnerships.

Combatting Wildlife Crime

The Postcode Meerkat wide area surveillance system in action.

To augment law enforcement efforts, the Rhino Protection Programme assisted protected areas (in particular Kruger National Park, Limpopo National Park and the reserves managed by Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife) with the integration of various forms of technology. This includes the innovative and Africa’s first wide area surveillance system called the Postcode Meerkat (in recognition of the support received from the UK People’s Postcode Lottery), surveillance towers and cameras, equipment (for example a Savannah light sport aircraft and boat to Limpopo National Park) gate upgrades and aerial back-up.

Rangers received refresher training, while training in crime scene management and forensics was provided. Assistance was furthermore given to rescue, care for and rehabilitate rhino injured during, and calves orphaned by, poaching incidents.
Thanks to the support of the Dutch Postcode Lottery, a Savannah aircraft was handed over to Limpopo National Park to increase monitoring and surveillance efforts.
Thanks to the support of the Dutch Postcode Lottery, a Savannah aircraft was handed over to Limpopo National Park to increase monitoring and surveillance efforts.

Thanks to the support of the Dutch Postcode Lottery, a Savannah aircraft was handed over to Limpopo National Park to increase monitoring and surveillance efforts.

SANParks, Peace Parks Foundation and the Greater Kruger Environmental Protection Foundation signed an agreement that led to the implementation of a security strategy for the joint protection zone, which includes the establishment of a centrally-managed control room operating from the grounds of the Southern African Wildlife College.

Children in Ho Chi Ming City at the Vietnam Be My Hero rhino awareness campaign launch.

To reduce the demand for rhino horn, the Vietnam, Be My Hero rhino awareness campaign was launched in local schools, publications, websites and social media in partnership with the Wilderness Foundation and Thanh Bui of Soul Music Academy. A superhero, Rhino Ranger, was also launched in preparation for the next Wild Rhino competition, where winners come to South Africa to learn about the rhino’s plight in order to spread the message upon their return to Vietnam.

Peace Parks Foundation and Panthera are working with local communities to reduce the threat to wild leopards by making fabric furs in the Furs for Life project, supported by Cartier. By the end of October, 14,280 fabric furs had been delivered to communities, thus saving an equivalent amount of leopard in the wild from being slaughtered for their skin.

The Future
An exciting development that the Foundation has embarked on is to bolster its support for community development, with a dedicated team at head office to co-ordinate all the field activities in the various peace parks.

Community development interventions range from food security support (primarily through conservation agriculture, water augmentation, honey production, vegetable and chilli farming), health (focussing on reproductive health in partnership with Blue Ventures), wildlife economy (sustainable use of game animals), energy (with the initiation of an ecocharcoal pilot project in partnership with Bio- Carbon Partners) and conservation awareness (implemented in partnership with Laureus Sport for Good Foundation, which aims to empower local communities and promote sustainability of natural resources).

At the Foundation’s Board meeting in November, the creation of a New Technologies Support Programme was approved, which will focus on developing applications in the fields of tourism, conservation and community development, using mobile technologies to fast-track and increase the level and scale of positive impact that can be made to safeguard the future of people and nature living in co-existence.

Contact Us
For more information on our work, kindly continue navigating through our website. We will also send out a comprehensive report on the year’s work and achievements in our next annual review.

Thank you very much for your support. The Peace Parks team joins me in wishing you and your loved ones a happy holidays and a healthy and prosperous 2017.


Restocking National Parks As Part Of Transfrontier Conservation Development


Launch Of Postcode Meerkat Surveillance System In KNP

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