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Wednesday, 14 August, 2002, 16:06 GMT 17:06 UK
Borders come down for Africa's animals
Impala released in Mozambique
Impala are among the animals being moved
South Africa has begun moving large wild animals en masse by lorry to Mozambique as part of a huge conservation programme.

Over 1,000 animals ranging from zebras to wildebeest to warthogs have been moved from South Africa's Kruger National Park to the Gaza region of Mozambique in the past week.

They arrived at their destination after a journey of one and a half hours.

The animals are meant to restock the depleted Limpopo National Park in a step towards the creation of a massive trans-national game reserve incorporating Kruger, Limpopo and Gonarezhou in south-eastern Zimbabwe.

In November 2001, South Africa, Mozambique and Zimbabwe signed an agreement to start work on establishing what will be called the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park (GLTP).

The three governments and the Peace Parks Foundation, a group set up in 1997 to promote trans-frontier conservation projects, say the Greater Limpopo project aims at improving management of the shared ecosystem.

But it is more than just a game conservation scheme, Irma Engelbrecht of the Peace Parks Foundation told BBC News Online.

It will also, she said, provide livelihoods to local people through conservation and eco-tourism ventures.

South Africa is pursuing similar cross-border projects with Botswana, Namibia, Swaziland and Lesotho.

Jumbo plans

The planned park will cover 35,000 square km, occupying an area larger than the Netherlands or Taiwan.

South Africa's Environmental and Tourism Affairs Minister, Valli Moosa, puts the whole scheme in the context of his country's approach to the future development of the whole continent.

Nelson Mandela in Mozambique
Nelson Mandela launched the project in October 2001

"The GLTP is a demonstration of what can be achieved through regional economic cooperation, the vision behind the New Partnership for Africa's Development [Nepad]," he said.

The park would "open to the world the biggest ever animal kingdom, increasing foreign investment into the region and creating much-needed jobs for its people".

Over the next three years a total of 6,000 large mammals will be moved to Mozambique.

Borders within the area of the transnational park will be removed and tourists will be able to cross the former international borders within the park without having to show passports.

The park's animals will also be able to migrate freely within the whole area, re-establishing old migration routes disrupted by border fences.

See also:

05 Oct 01 | Africa
29 Aug 01 | Africa
04 Sep 00 | Africa
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