The International Convention on Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) has authorised an increase in the number of elephants Mozambique is allowed to kill from 40 to 60 per year.
Agriculture minister Soares Nhaca told AIM that he welcomed this increase, since it will make it somewhat easier for the government to manage conflicts between wildlife and humans. Elephants in particular can have a devastating impact on crops. Nhaca said the government can now, with CITES approval, shoot problem animals, and because this culling is authorized, the trophies can be legally exported.
?The decision also means that we can increase the government?s capacity to train wardens for various parks and wildlife reserves?, he added. A further measure taken to try and keep wildlife and people apart is to fence elephant migration routes. According to Tourism Minister Fernando Sumbana, work is now under way to build fencing along the elephant migration corridor that leads to the Maputo Special Reserve in the far south of the country. He expected the work to be finished this year.
A similar strategy is being tried in the far north of the country, to keep the animals of the Quirimbas National Park out of the fields of local farmers. Here community hunters have been trained to protect people living near the park.
Of all the country?s large animals, the one responsible for most human deaths is certainly the crocodile. The government plans to fence off certain river areas, so that people can fetch water there without the risk of a crocodile attack.
The strategy also envisages selected shooting of crocodiles, and the collection of crocodile eggs, which can then be incubated in crocodile farms.
Mozambique - South Africa elephant migration corridor
Environmental affairs spokesperson Mandla Mathebula, said that Sanparks along with the departments of environmental affairs and the public works were discussing the logistics of the re-erection of the 150km border fence between Mozambique and South Africa. The fence was taken down in 2002 to allow elephants to migrate freely between the two reserves.
The first elephants were translocated from Kruger to Mozambique in October 2001. The release of the elephants were to indicate the start of a megapark, but the increase in rhino poaching caused wildlife officials to call for the fence to be re-erected.
According to Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa, an additional 150 rangers will be deployed to the Kruger this year to combat rhino poaching.
Sanparks chief executive said that the fence, if approved, will cost an estimate of R250 million to build. Locals across the Mozambique border are very poor and the risk that organized crime might be enticed are among the main concerns.