By John Yeld
Mozambique’s Limpopo National Park – a key element in the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park, or peace park – has been stripped of all its 300-odd rhinos by poachers, with the last remaining 15 animals believed to have been killed last month. Many of the rangers in this national park, which adjoins the Kruger National Park, appear to have been involved in the massacre, according to local Mozambican media reports that were picked up by other news media sources.
One of these reports – quoted in the Rhino War News Bulletin run by Tim Condon, a former KwaZulu-Natal game ranger now based in Canada – states:
“Antonio Abacar, the administrator of Limpopo National Park, told local media that 30 rangers are to be taken to court soon after their cases are ready. There used to be 300 rhinos in the conservation area bordering South Africa. He said the last 15 rhinos were killed last month.”
The Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park, which straddles the borders of Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe, was signed to acclaim by the heads of these three states on December 9, 2002.
It includes some of the best established wildlife areas in southern Africa, including Kruger and Zimbabwe’s Gonarezhou National Park, and forms a huge conservation area of 35 000km2 – about the size of the Netherlands – that is supposed to be managed as an integrated unit across the three international boundaries.
A second phase of this ambitious project, which is due to include Mozambique’s Banhine and Zinave national parks, will make the park almost 100 000km2 in extent, making it “the world’s greatest animal kingdom”, according to the Peace Parks Foundation. More....