The perilous 1,000-mile journey to save Africa’s endangered black rhinos
28 Oct 2022
Gonarezhou National Park, situated in the south-eastern lowveld of Zimbabwe and covering an area in excess of 5 000 square kilometres, is a vital component of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park. Gonarezhou, meaning ‘Place of many Elephants’ is an extraordinarily scenic park. Three major rivers – the Save, Runde and Mwenezi – cut their courses through the park, forming pools and natural oases from which hundreds of species of birds, wildlife and fish gather to feed and drink. The spectacular Chilojo Cliffs are a major attraction. These magnificent red sandstone cliffs have been formed through erosion and overlook the picturesque Runde River valley.
In 2007, the Frankfurt Zoological Society and the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority signed an agreement to establish a partnership for the management of Gonarezhou National Park. The agreement was updated in 2010 and is valid for a further 10 years.
Frankfurt Zoological Society has been ofering technical and financial support to Gonarezhou to conserve its wildlife and habitats as an integral component of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park and a vital component of Zimbabwe’s heritage.
The support has been given at all levels. It started with a detailed management plan and from there has been covering aspects such as comprehensive park security measures, strenghthening management systems, maintaining infrastructure and water supply, building positive relationships and partnerships with surrounding communities and improving the tourism products on offer, while monitoring and evaluating the impact on the park’s development.
Frankfurt Zoological Society and the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority are in the process of establishing a ‘Gonarezhou Trust’ – a new management model for the park that would allow for greater financial and ecological sustainability in the long term. This will form an exciting next step for the future of this conservation partnership.
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