Transfrontier parks – allowing wildlife to exist closer to how it did before humans arrived

In Africa it is becoming increasingly common for national parks to be declared on both sides of a border. This allows the protected area to be vastly larger than either country could succeed in, on its own. This is important because many of the mammals that live in Africa need a lot of space and live at low densities. Without transfrontier parks it would be too expensive to protect a large enough area to support populations of animals such as wild dog and cheetah. In an ideal world this is a relatively simple solution, however as with everything it isn’t often that simple. With war and famine and other problems the animals could suddenly become less secure in one country than another.

Below I will list the some examples and the success they appear to have enjoyed:

Limpopo transfrontier park

This was principally made up of the Kruger national park in South African and Gonarezhou national park in Zimbabwe, and the Limpopo national park in Mozambique. The problems started after the fences were taken down. Due to the instability in Mozambique and the political problems caused by Mugabe’s rule, when animals roamed from South Africa across the border they were not as safe. This was particularly underlined a few years ago, when Mugabe had a large feast for some event and ordered his men into the nearest national park to shoot 4 elephants to be eaten.

Kruger covers roughly 19,000 square km, and with the other parks added up to about 36,000. however, there are now plans to expand that area considerably and the total transfrontier park could reach an area approaching 100,000 square km.

Kgalagadi Transfrontier park

This protects around 38,000 square km of the Kalahari desert. 75% of this lies within Botswana the rest in South Africa. This park is in particular danger as half of the Botswana side was designated for shale gas extraction in 2014.

Kalahari Zambezi (KAZA) Transfrontier park

This park stretches across parts of Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe and adds up to a combined area of roughly 440,000 square km The proposed park will include 36 national parks, game reserves, community conservancies and game management areas, with some of the world’s most dramatic wilderness areas included, such as Caprivi Strip, Chobe National Park, Okavango Delta and the Victoria Falls.

Selous Niassa Conservation area

This covers about 150,000 square km, about 2/3 the Selous with the rest the Niassa national park.

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