Multiparty cooperation the solution to wildlife crimes (Southern Africa)


Masego Panyane, IOL News

Date Published

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The solution to rising levels of wildlife crimes is multiparty cooperation.

Countries Mozambique, Zimbabwe and South Africa are signatories of the Greater Limpopo Treaty of 2002 that aims to create a protected area that will ultimately include some of the most established parks in Southern Africa.

The conservancy area will measure eventually 100 000kms2, making it the largest conservancy area in the world.

Benefits of the cooperation are to curb the scourge of wildlife related crimes, improve domestic and international tourism in these regions, and preserve the state of wildlife in the area.

Statistics provided by the Joint Management Board, which provides oversight on the smaller Joint Management Park Committees in the region, show a drastic decrease in the successful poaching of rhino.

In the first quarter of 2017, 114 rhino were poached in the region as opposed to 196 in 2016. While with elephants a slight increase was reported in 2017 as opposed to 2016. Park officials attribute the success of lowering poaching numbers to the joint operations of park law enforcement, the South African National Defence Force and Mozambican law enforcement.

Mozambique and South Africa have developed unique methods of cooperation that have allowed the poaching of rhino to be curbed. More efforts will be made to tackle elephant poaching.

Speaking for the National Conservation Area Agency of Mozambique (ANAC), Cornelio Miguel who is also the warden of the Limpopo National Park said the park was acutely aware of the increase in elephant poaching and was working diligent to address it.

With elephants being some of the smartest animals in the animal Kingdom, the agency believes that they can also know how poachers move if they understand how animals move.

“While it would be premature to say, we have begun monitoring the patterns of elephants. We have selected a number of elephants and placed small tracking devices on them which will help us understand their movements. Once we know how they are moving, we’ll be able to tell whether they are responding to the threat against them,” he said.

He re-iterated that the Mozambican government was also invested in building relationships with communities around the park and that they believed this would enable them to address poaching adequately and use the parks to help generate incomes, lead to the growth of tourism and lead to infrastructure development.