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The 240 000 hectare Greater Libombos Conservancy (GLC) is now the first privately owned area to be included as part of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park (GLTP) and Conservation Area, making Mozambique the first country to add areas to Great Limpopo in terms of the Great Limpopo Treaty signed in 2002.
The groundbreaking process for Mozambique, supported by Peace Parks Foundation, was formalised on Friday, 24 February, at a Trilateral Ministerial Committee Meeting held in Maputo.
In addition to including the Greater Libombos Conservancy to the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park and Conservation Area, Mozambique will be launching an international conference on conservation and the protection of wildlife.
This is according to SA’s Department of Environmental Affairs, who says the move is a crucial development for the enhancement of the implementation of the International Treaty establishing the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park and Conservation Area.
The Joint Management Board comprises of the three partner countries of Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe.
The Ministers resolved that the process for the formalisation of this incorporation between the countries must be finalised by the Governments of Mozambique and South Africa.
Why is this expansion of the conservancy important?
The GLC comprises a total of nine properties on the eastern boundary of the Kruger National Park, the Peace Parks organisation says. It is significant in terms of its environmental attributes, as well as its geographic location.
The GLTP and Conservation Area straddles the borders of Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe and consolidates almost 100 000 km² of some of the most established wildlife areas in southern Africa.
“It conserves and protects diverse natural and cultural assets. It is largely devoid of infrastructure or anthropogenic impacts and includes vast unspoilt areas that provide opportunities for the development of true wilderness experiences.
This is where the Greater Libombos Conservancy lies and how it forms part of the GLTP and Conservation Area:
Move to combat poaching
The GLC is also a key component of the largest rhino refuge area in southern Africa and, together with its neighbours, is at the forefront of the combat against the current rhino poaching epidemic.
SA’s DEA agrees, saying the new expansion of the conservation area will give the joint governmental agencies more authority in combating wildlife crime across the trans-frontier region.
This comes as the DEA announced SA’s most recent rhino poaching statistics, pointing to an overall 10.3% decline from 2015 stats. Despite the drop, the number of illegal incursions into the Kruger National Park continues to increase.
For 2016, there were a staggering 2 883 instances of poaching-related activities (such as poaching camps, contacts, crossings, sightings, tracks and shots fired) in the Park, compared to 2 466 recorded in the same period in 2015. This is an increase of 16.9%.
“These criminal gangs are armed to the teeth,” the DEA says, “well-funded and part of transnational syndicates who will stop at nothing to get their hands on rhino horn”.
The move to combine three countries’ efforts to combat wildlife crime will hopefully ensure a more acute treat to the poaching epidemic.
Adding the GLC to Great Limpopo TFCA has major positive implications for conservation, tourism, community development and countering wildlife crime.
Together, the GLTP Trilateral Ministerial Committee also declared that in terms of conservation and protection, the countries will reaffirm the implementation of the wildlife translocation programme for the GLTFCA and the continue the restocking of species into key protected areas in the Mozambican component of the GLTFCA.Source: Traveller 24