WESSA (the Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa) believes that positive messages came out of Mozambique at the launch of the Joaquim Chissano Foundation Wildlife Preservation Initiative in Maputo on Monday, 4 November.
The event which was held at the Joaquim Chissano International Convention Centre in Maputo was very well attended by key organisations and international dignitaries.
WESSA is encouraged that Mozambique has recognised that its citizens are largely responsible for the huge losses to South Africa’s rhino populations as well as its own populations of rhinos and elephants. Speaking at the launch, former President Joaquim Chissano stated had that Mozambique has to turn the tide on poaching in the country.
The initiative will focus on four key conservation areas, two of which are transfrontier reserves with South Africa: the Maputo Special Reserve and Limpopo National Park. These four areas constitute 75% of the country’s protected area network.
The former President paid attention to the impact that the devastating wave of poaching is having on the country. He said that the loss of rhinos in South Africa is getting worse. By 2016 the population would be in a state of decline and Mozambique is facilitating this because it has become a fertile environment for illegal international crime syndicates to target young Mozambican males who lack a perspective for a better life and who have the requisite skills to be poachers.
Such skills include bush skills, knowledge of the terrain, and military training which encompasses the knowledge of running tactical operations and access to illegal firearms and ammunition. He said 70% of the rhinos killed in South Africa can be attributed to Mozambicans and a corresponding 68% of all poachers arrested in South Africa have been Mozambican citizens. More....