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The Trans-boundary Parks Initiative
The Origins and Objectives of the Peace Parks Foundation
CEO, Peace Parks Foundation

Programme

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The origin of the Peace Parks Foundation

On 27 May 1990, Anton Rupert, the President of WWF South Africa (then called the Southern African Nature Foundation) had a meeting in Maputo with Mozambique's President Joaquim Chissano to discuss the possibility of a permanent link being established between some of the protected areas in southern Mozambique and their adjacent counterparts in South Africa, Swaziland and Zimbabwe. The concept of transborder protected area co-operation through the establishment of "peace parks" was not a new one. The World Conservation Union (IUCN) had long been promoting their establishment because of the many potential benefits associated with them (Hamilton et al, 1996; Westing, 1993). In 1988, IUCN's Commission on National Parks and Protected Areas had identified at least 70 protected areas in 65 countries which straddle national frontiers (Thorsell, 1990). As a result of Rupert's meeting, WWF South Africa was requested to carry out the relevant feasibility study, which was completed and submitted to the Government of Mozambique in September 1991 (Tinley and van Riet, 1991). The report was discussed by the Mozambique Council of Ministers, who recommended that further studies were required to assess fully the political, socio-economic and ecological aspects of the feasibility study. The Government of Mozambique then requested the Global Environment Facility (GEF) of the World Bank to provide assistance for the project, which was granted. The first mission was fielded in 1991, and in June 1996 the Bank released its recommendations in a report entitled Mozambique: Transfrontier Conservation Areas Pilot and Institutional Strengthening Project (World Bank, 1996).

The report suggested an important conceptual shift away from the idea of strictly protected national parks towards greater emphasis on multiple resource use by local communities by introducing the Transfrontier Conservation Area (TFCA) concept. In short, TFCAs were defined as relatively large areas, which straddle frontiers between two or more countries and cover large-scale natural systems encompassing one or more protected areas. Very often both human and animal populations traditionally migrated across or straddled the political boundaries concerned. In essence, TFCAs extend far beyond designated protected areas, and can incorporate such innovative approaches as biosphere reserves and a wide range of community based natural resource management programmes (World Bank, 1996). (The Peace Parks Foundation subsequently adopted this new paradigm.)

As a result of the political constraints prevalent in southern Africa at the time of the initiation of the GEF funded programme in Mozambique, only limited attention could be given to the development of formal links between the three main participating countries i.e. Mozambique, Zimbabwe and South Africa, and unfortunately this persisted throughout the duration of the study. Two years after the election of Nelson Mandela, South Africa was experiencing a rapid and significant growth in its nature-based tourism industry, but very few of the benefits associated with this growth were being made available to Mozambique. These concerns prompted Anton Rupert to request another meeting with President Chissano, and this was held on 27 May 1996. At this meeting, Rupert emphasized the significant economic benefits that could accrue to Mozambique if the proposed TFCAs were implemented. The Maputo discussions were followed by a Transfrontier Park Initiative meeting in the Kruger National Park on 8 August 1996 under the joint Chairmanship of Mozambique's Minister of Transport and Communications, Paulo Muxanga, and South Africa's Minister of Transport, Mac Maharaj, where it was agreed that the two countries, together with Zimbabwe and Swaziland, should co-operate to realize the economic benefits of the proposed TFCAs.

Towards the end of 1996, it became clear to WWF South Africa that interest in the peace park concept was not only growing within the country, but also in the neighbouring states. For the first time, southern Africa was being seen as a tourist destination, not just South Africa or other countries on their own, and an integral part of this vision was the development of TFCAs or peace parks involving all of South Africa's neighbouring countries (de Villiers, 1994; Pinnock, 1996). There was a growing recognition that tourism is the one industry that has the potential to be the most important economic engine to create the jobs that are so urgently needed in the sub-continent (see Annex 1).

The Executive Committee of WWF South Africa came to the conclusion that unless a separate body was set up to co-ordinate and drive the process of TFCA establishment and funding, these areas would not receive the attention that was required to make them a reality on the ground. Accordingly, the Peace Parks Foundation was established on 1 February 1997 with an initial grant of Rand 1.2 million (US$ 260,000) from the Rupert Nature Foundation to facilitate the establishment of TFCAs in southern Africa.

Objectives of the Peace Parks Foundation

The Peace Parks Foundation has been constituted and established in South Africa as an Association incorporated under Section 21 i.e. a company "not for gain". It has virtually all the powers of a normal company, but cannot have shareholders, and no profits can be paid to supporting members. The Foundation is managed by a Board of Directors under the Chairmanship of Dr. Anton Rupert, and has seven Honorary Patrons, namely President Mogae (Botswana), His Majesty King Letsie lll (Lesotho), President Muluzi (Malawi), President Chissano (Mozambique), President Nujoma (Namibia), His Majesty King Mswati lll (Swaziland), and President Mugabe (Zimbabwe). Nelson Mandela (South Africa) is Patron Emeritus. To assist with technical advice in the transfrontier conservation process and to provide a forum for discussion of significant cross-border issues, the Peace Parks Foundation has formed an Advisory Committee and invited representatives from the wildlife authorities of the SADC countries to serve on this body. The members of the Advisory Committee are: George Hughes (Actg. Chief Executive, KwaZulu­Natal Nature Conservation Service); Walter Kanhanga (Actg. Director: Zimbabwe Dept of National Parks & Wild Life Management); Holger Kolberg (Specialist Support Services, Namibia Ministry of Environment & Tourism); Samiro Magane (Mozambique Directorate of Forestry & Wildlife); Joseph Matlhare (Director: Botswana Wildlife & National Parks); Lota Melamari (Director­General, Tanzania National Parks); Sedia Modise (Facilitator, Dongola/Limpopo TFCA); Bore Motsamai (Principal General, Lesotho National Environment Secretariat); Mavuso Msimang (Chief Director, South African National Parks); Henry Mwima (Director: Operations & Research, Zambia Wildlife Authority); Leonard Sefu (Director, Malawi National Parks & Wildlife Dept) and Jameson Vilikati(Director: Swaziland Environment Authority).

The overall mission of the Foundation is to facilitate the establishment of Transfrontier Conservation Areas in the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) supporting sustainable economic development, the conservation of biodiversity; and regional peace and stability.

TFCAs involve a unique level of international cooperation between the participating countries, particularly on sensitive issues related to the opening of international boundaries and within each region, thus support from the top political level is required. The Peace Parks Foundation has received endorsement from the highest political levels in order to further the first phase of its programme, which involves Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania and Zimbabwe. Specific objectives include the following:

  • Raise and allocate funds to projects (essentially of a capital nature) which will further the establishment and management of TFCAs. These projects will have been approved and recommended to the Foundation by the relevant conservation agencies responsible for managing the TFCAs.

  • Assist with the identification of land to be acquired for the development of the TFCAs, taking into account the rights and circumstances of communities living on such land. The Foundation will then: purchase the land for leasing to the various conservation agencies, or negotiate with private landowners and residents of communal lands for leasing on a contractual basis.

  • Negotiate loans to the TFCA conservation agencies for approved projects.

  • Negotiate with governments and semi-government bodies with regards to political and land tenure/ legal issues associated with TFCAs.

  • Promote the development of TFCAs on a commercial basis (including private sector development) as and when appropriate within the parameters imposed by environmental and conservation practices and principles, and whenever possible and practical, involving local communities.

  • Promote the case for TFCAs nationally and internationally in terms of their economic viability, ecological sustainability, and their contribution to the conservation of global biodiversity. Every effort will be made to promote the recognition of TFCAs as World Heritage sites if applicable. Special attention will be given to promoting broad-based education programmes for residents in or adjacent to the TFCAs.

Levels of support required for the establishment of TFCAs

For TFCAs to become a reality, support is required at five levels, namely:

i) Political. TFCAs involve a unique level of international cooperation between the participating countries, particularly on sensitive issues related to the opening of international boundaries. An open commitment by each Head of State is an essential prerequisite for the TFCA to succeed.

ii) Regional. Within each region, the relevant international bodies have a key role to play in facilitating the process. SADC's support for the TFCA process is of paramount importance.

iii) Technical. Within each TFCA all the relevant "technical" responsible agencies must be consulted and involved, including the conservation departments and government departments responsible for immigration, police, home affairs, customs, health, etc.

iv) Local communities. All local communities in and adjacent to the TFCAs must be consulted at the start of the development process and every effort should be made to make them partners in the business opportunities that will open up.

v) Financial. TFCAs are expensive to establish and run successfully. Financial support must be forthcoming from the State, with perhaps the bulk of the funding coming from private sector investments and bilateral and multilateral aid agencies.

Following discussions in South Africa with the Boards of the KwaZulu Natal Nature Conservation Service (Natal Parks Board) and South African National Parks (National Parks Board), and with conservation agencies in neighbouring countries, eight potential TFCAs have been identified for initial support by the Foundation in southern Africa (Map 1). The Foundation has also recently extended its activities to include the Lake Malawi / Nyasa TFCA. In the text that follows, the first six are listed from the west to the east of the region, followed by the Maloti/Drakensberg TFCA to the south and ending with the Lake Malawi / Nyasa TFCA.

Transfrontier Conservation Areas supported by the Peace Parks Foundation

1. Richtersveld / Ai-Ais TFCA. This proposed TFCA spans some of the most spectacular scenery of the arid and desert environments of southern Africa, incorporating the Fish River Canyon (often equated to the Grand Canyon in the USA) and the Ai-Ais hot springs. It is 6,222 km2 in extent of which about 1,902 km2 (31%) are in South Africa, and the remainder (69%) in Namibia (Map 2). It comprises the Richtersveld National Park in South Africa, which was proclaimed in 1991 as South Africa's only fully contractual National Park, and the Ai-Ais Nature Reserve in Namibia, which was proclaimed in 1986.

Dissected by the Orange River, which forms the border between the two countries, the TFCA is one of the most diverse parts of the species-rich Succulent Karoo biome, partly the result of two different rainfall systems and climatic zones. The list of Red Data Book and endemic plant species is impressive, making the TFCA one of the most species-rich arid zones in the world, an undisputed hotspot of biodiversity. Many of the species of fauna found in the area are adapted to withstand the harsh, arid climate (between 15 and 300 mm of rain each year, and summer temperatures well over 40oC). Fifty-six species of mammals have been recorded, of which eight are Red Data Book species, including the aardwolf Proteles cristatus, the brown hyaena Hyaena brunnea and Hartmann's mountain zebra Equus zebra hartmannae. Six species are endemic to the southern Africa sub-region, a particularly common example being the dassie rat Petromus typicus which is confined to the South West Arid Zone where there is suitable habitat of rocky terrain. The mountain ground squirrel Xerus princeps has a similar range to the dassie rat, excepting that the only place in which it has been recorded in South Africa is in the Richtersveld National Park. Along the Orange River predators such as leopard Panthera pardus, caracal Felis caracal and black-backed jackal Canis mesomelas still occur in reasonable numbers. However, with the exception of klipspringer Oreotragus oreotragus ungulates are uncommon. There are at least 194 species of birds, 23 of which are endemic to southern Africa. The TFCA is particularly noted for its herpetofauna, the diverse microhabitats of the area being populated by a large variety of lizards (35 species) and snakes (16 species) (Acocks, 1988; Gelderblom et al., 1997; National Parks Board, 1996; Powrie, 1992; van Jaarsveld, 1981).

The Namibian conservation authorities have been approached informally by the South African National Parks Board on the subject of the formal establishment of the proposed TFCA, but no agreement or joint management plan exists. A formal liaison committee needs to be established between the two countries to advance the process, and to address one of the main challenges associated with the implementation of the TFCA, namely the rehabilitation of diamond mining areas on both sides of the Orange River and the recently announced expansion of diamond mining in Buffelsbank Diamante at Sendelingsdrift within the Richtersveld National Park. The two designated conservation areas involved are relatively recent acquisitions to southern Africa's network of protected areas, and their combination in the TFCA will make a significant contribution to the consolidation of protected land in the Namib Desert biotic zone (Meester, 1965) and the mammals associated with it.

The TFCA has limited visitor facilities. In the Richtersveld National Park, there are five unserviced campsites and three guesthouses. The Ai-Ais Hot Springs and the Fish River Canyon has much more extensive tourist accommodation facilities. The whole of the TFCA is closed to visitors during the hot summer months (November to March). The opening of the TFCA would greatly facilitate movement from the Richtersveld to the Fish River Canyon and Hot Springs, but there is a limited potential for a significant increase in tourist numbers.

2. Gariep TFCA. This is the least developed of all the proposed TFCAs, and is still at the concept stage. As with the Richtersveld/ Ai-Ais, the area is also centered along a stretch of the Orange River which forms the international boundary between South Africa and Namibia. The proposed TFCA is 2,774 km2 in extent, of which 2,007 km2 (72%) are in South Africa, and a further 767 km2 (28%) in Namibia (Map 3). It comprises an arid area characterized by broken terrain with deep sandy dry river gorges flowing down to the Orange River from both sides. The river itself has unique clusters of islands in several places, creating a similar effect as found in river deltas. These islands support untouched stands of riverine bush, a representative of the Orange River Nama Karoo vegetation type, only 1.5% of which is presently conserved. Inland on the South African side are relatively untransformed areas of typical Namaqualand Broken Veld, with a unique "forest" of Aloe dichotoma covering 9km2, and made up of an estimated 30,000 individual plants (Acocks, 1988; Bezuidenhout, 1997; Gelderblom et al., 1997).

Unlike all of the other proposed TFCAs, land on both sides of the border is privately owned, and at present has no conservation status. The Namibian conservation authorities have accepted the concept, but no formal discussions have taken place. In 1997, irrigation development for the production of table grapes extended into the heart of the proposed TFCA, causing significant land transformations, and this will necessitate a revision of the proposed boundaries. The Peace Parks Foundation funded a feasibility study of the proposed TFCA, which was completed in June 1998 (Jardine & Owen, 1998). The Foundation is waiting for advice on this matter from the Board of South African National Parks before any further action is taken.

Of particular significance to conservation of mammalian biodiversity is the potential of this TFCA as a major new sanctuary for the black rhinoceros Diceros bicornis and possibly for Hartmann's mountain zebra. Black rhino have declined from an estimated 100,000 in 1960 to approximately 2,400 in 1995 (AfRSG, 1996). The Gariep TFCA contains extensive areas of ideal black rhino habitat, and introduced animals would be relatively easy to protect (by virtue of being surrounded by commercial farms and the TFCA's remoteness from areas of significant human population). Threat of agricultural development within the proposed transfrontier conservation area led to an urgent need for an environmental overview. This was funded and managed by the Foundation in association with the University of Cape Town and South African National Parks. The preliminary findings of the study indicate that portions of the river are under extreme and immediate threat due to a recent supply of electricity to the region, which fundamentally alters the agricultural potential of some farms. The overview will enable authorities to re-focus their energies towards the most vulnerable portions of the river.

 

3. Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. President Mogae of Botswana and President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa formally opened the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park on 12 May 2000. This followed the signing of the Bilateral Agreement on 7 April 1999, in which the two countries agreed to manage their adjacent national parks as a single ecological unit. The TFCA is 37,991 km2 in extent, of which 9,591 km2 (27%) are in South Africa with the remainder in Botswana (Map 4). This TFCA has been de facto in existence since 1948 through a verbal agreement between South Africa and Botswana, and is comprised of the Kalahari Gemsbok National Park in South Africa (proclaimed in 1931), and the Gemsbok National Park in Botswana (proclaimed in 1971), and subsequently extended to incorporate the Mabuasehube Game Reserve.

In June 1992 representatives from the South African National Parks Board and the Department of Wildlife and National Parks of Botswana set up a joint management committee (Transfrontier Management Committee). This has addressed the formalisation of the verbal agreement, and has produced a management plan that sets out the framework for the joint management of the area as a single ecological unit. The Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park Management Plan was reviewed and approved by the two conservation agencies early in 1997. The Plan provides a basis for co-operative tourism ventures, and proposes the sharing of entrance fees equally by both countries. An integral feature of the new agreement is that each country will provide and maintain its own tourism facilities and infrastructure, giving particular attention to developing and involving neighbouring communities (NPB (South Africa) and DWNP (Botswana), 1997). The Transfrontier Management Committee is in the process of establishing a Section 21 company "The Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park Company" to manage and control the financial aspects of the programme.

Following the ratification Botswana and South Africa have set into motion plans to upgrade and develop the park for tourism. This is promising as the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park acts as a prototype for future TFCAs in Africa showing the potential of transfrontier parks to not only protect biodiversity, but to also encourage tourism developments and thereby job creation in these often impoverished and undeveloped areas. An essential prerequisite for the new park is the development and construction of a new border post and an entrance gate on the border between the two countries. Furthermore, a communication system is being developed to provide an integrated two-way radio communication system for the park. This project is envisaged to significantly aid in the day-to-day management activities of personnel in the field and will contribute to the safer management of tourists visiting the more remote areas in the Park.

In order to appreciate the importance of this historic event, one needs to understand that the southern Kalahari represents an increasingly rare phenomenon in the world: a vast ecosystem, 37,991 km² in extent, relatively free of human influence. The absence of man-made barriers, except to the west and the south, has made possible a conservation area large enough to maintain ecological processes that were once widespread in the savannas and grasslands of Africa. These processes are: the large scale nomadic and seasonal movements of wildlife, and predation by large free-roaming mammalian carnivores. The 60 mammal species recorded include large herds of ungulates, mainly gemsbok Oryx gazella after which the national park gets its name, springbok Antidorcas marsupialis, and blue wildebeest Connochaetes taurinus, and to a lesser extent red hartebeest Alcelaphus buselaphus and eland Taurotragus oryx. These ungulates and an abundance of rodents support many carnivores and the TFCA has built up a deserved reputation as one on the few ecosystems in southern Africa where a variety of large predators can be maintained. Leopard, brown and spotted hyaena Crocuta crocuta, lion Panthera leo, cheetah Acinonyx jubatus, bat-eared fox Otocyon megalotis and the highly endangered wild dog Lycaon pictus are all well represented. A total of 264 bird species have been recorded, including many species endemic to the arid southwest region of southern Africa. Shrubby Kalahari Dune Bushveld predominates, with the Thorny Kalahari Dune Bushveld dominating along the Nossob and Auob Rivers (Acocks, 1988; Eloff, 1984; Gelderblom et al., 1997; Main, 1987; Mills, 1991; Mills & Haagner, 1989; NPB (South Africa) and DWNP (Botswana), 1997).

There are three rest camps on the South African side of the TFCA run by the South African National Parks, each with chalets and camping facilities. At present, only camping facilities are available on the Botswana side of the border. The Management Plan recognizes the importance of expanding visitor facilities, but the capacities for each of the zones and the siting of new camps has still not been decided.

4. Dongola / Limpopo Valley TFCA. This proposed TFCA is 4,872 km2 in extent, of which 2,561 km2 (53%) is in South Africa, 1,350 km2 (28%) is in Botswana, and 960 km2 (19%) is in Zimbabwe (Map 5). The TFCA is centered at the confluence of the Limpopo and Shashe Rivers. It is made up of a complex mosaic of land ownership, including land owned by the state, South African National Parks and private landowners in South Africa, privately owned land in Botswana (including the Northern Tuli Game Reserve and cattle/game ranches), and a mixture of communal lands, privately owned stock and game farming operations and a government owned safari area in Zimbabwe.

In South Africa, after a long and often acrimonious debate dating back to 1944 (Carruthers, 1992), an agreement that paved the way for the proclamation of a national park in the vicinity of the Limpopo–Shashe confluence was signed on 9 June 1995 between the central government, the Northern Province and the Board of South African National Parks. The government-owned Tuli Safari Circle in Zimbabwe was gazetted in 1963. The Peace Parks Foundation has been involved in working with South African National Parks and with the private landowners to establish an agreed South African position on land ownership issues related to the proposed TFCA. The consolidation of the farms in this area will help create an essential corridor between two of the biggest conservation areas within the TFCA, namely the Northern Tuli Game Reserve (NOTUGRE) in Botswana and the Venetia Limpopo Nature Reserve in South Africa, which will provide a corridor for SANP to link their eastern and western Dongola properties. Should the properties ultimately form part of the proposed transfrontier park, this coupled with the transfer of the farm Greeswald to the SANP, will give them sufficient land to proclaim the Dongola National Park. Most of the private landowners on the Botswana side have indicated their willingness to participate in the TFCA, and they have the support of Botswana's Department of Wildlife and National Parks. Prospects appear equally encouraging in Zimbabwe. The South African authorities have had preliminary discussions on the implementation of the TFCA with their counterparts from the two neighbouring countries, but no formal agreements have been concluded, and no joint development plan exists.

The TFCA has excellent potential as a "big five" conservation area. Viable populations of lion, leopard, and cheetah still occur, and the population of 600 elephants in Botswana is the largest population on private land in Africa. Ungulates already present include eland, impala Aepyceros melampus, blue wildebeest, Burchell's zebra Equus burchelli, Sharpe's grysbok Raphicerus sharpei, and steenbok Raphicerus campestris, and there is suitable habitat for both black and white rhino Ceratotherium simum. The area also has 19 Red Data Book mammals. No detailed information is available on birds, reptiles and amphibians found specifically within the TFCA, although the area around the confluence of the two rivers is known to have a great diversity of birdlife. Three main vegetation communities are recognized in the region: the riparian fringe occurs along the main rivers and their tributaries, the Acacia-Salvadora community occurs on the Limpopo flats and vlei areas, and the mixed western mopane veld occurs on ridges and flats south of the riparian fringe and flood plains. Twenty-six Red Data Book plant species have been recorded in the area. Large areas of the proposed TFCA have been severely disturbed and degraded due to previous intensive agricultural farming activities in the core area.

Introductions of mammals into the Venetia Limpopo Nature Reserve include 44 elephants from 1991-1994, 10 roan Hippotragus equinus, 10 sable Hippotragus niger and 20 tsessebe Damaliscus lunatus in 1994, and 15 wild dog in 1992. All the introductions have been successful except the wild dog, which increased to 27 in 1992 before disappearing completely the following year (Mark Berry, pers. com.). A major constraint to the movement of animals in the area is the presence of the veterinary cordon fence and an electrified military barrier on the South African side of the Limpopo River, and this needs to be addressed urgently. Once established, this TFCA has the potential to be a significant sanctuary for wild dog, black rhino and elephant and for the 16 other Red Data Book species. Wild dog and elephants in particular would benefit from the larger area of the TFCA.

The Dongola/Limpopo Valley TFCA with its wealth of wildlife and scenery and its cultural/historical assets has the potential to become a major new tourist destination in southern Africa. Existing tourist facilities are mainly restricted to a small number of privately run lodges in Botswana (which already attract about 20,000 visitors each year), and an even smaller number within South Africa. In Zimbabwe, the Tuli Circle Safari Area in Zimbabwe is used extensively for hunting by permit. The proposed national park on the South African side of the TFCA could attract 30,000 additional visitors per year. All three counties have potential for private sector investment in ecotourism development.

5. Gaza / Kruger / Gonarezhou TFCA. In a joint media statement issued on 2 May 2000 the Ministers responsible for natural resources (Environmental Affairs, Wildlife, Forestry, Agriculture, Fisheries and Mining) in Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe declared their intention to consolidate plans for what could become the biggest TFCA in the world. This TFCA is 95,712 km2 in extent, of which 69,208 km2 (72%) is in Mozambique, 19,458 km2 (21%) in South Africa, and 7,019 km2 (7%) in Zimbabwe (Map 6). With more species of big game than any other tract of land of equivalent size, the TFCA has the potential to become one of Africa's premier ecotourism destinations. The South African side will incorporate Africa's first national park, the Kruger National Park, which was proclaimed on 31 May 1926, and a number of privately owned areas on the western boundary of the park. Zimbabwe's portion of the TFCA will include the Sengwe communal land and the Gonarezhou National Park, which was proclaimed as a national parks in 1972. In Mozambique the TFCA will incorporate the Coutada 16 Wildlife Utilization Area immediately adjacent to the Kruger National Park, the Zinave National Park, which was originally proclaimed as a national park in 1972, Banhine National Park established in 1972, and a large area of state owned communal land with a relatively low population density.

Kruger National Park alone is one of the major areas of vertebrate diversity in southern Africa, with 147 species of mammals, 505 species of birds, 51 fish, 35 amphibians, and 119 reptiles. It is one of the few protected areas in southern Africa capable of maintaining a natural large carnivore/prey system, which will be enhanced considerably once the whole TFCA is in place. Significant populations of mammals include 1,500 lion, 2,000 spotted hyaena, 8,320 elephants, 2,200 white rhinos, 250 black rhinos, 32,000 Burchell's zebra, 2,200 hippos Hippopotamus amphibius, 5,000 giraffe Giraffa camelopardalis, 1,500 warthog Phacochoerus aethiopicus, 16,640 buffalo Syncerus caffer, 3,500 kudu Tragelaphus strepsiceros, 1,500 waterbuck Kobus ellipsiprymnus, 14,000 blue wildebeest and over 100,000 impala. Other ungulates include eland, nyala Tragelaphus angasii, bushbuck Tragelaphus scriptus, roan, sable, tsessebe, steenbok, mountain reedbuck Redunca fulvorufula, Sharpe's grysbok, klipspringer, suni Neotragus moschatus, oribi Ourebi ourebi, red duiker Cephalophus natalensis and common duiker Sylvicapra grimmia. Within the park alone are 18 Red Data Book mammal species. Unfortunately, there has been a recent increase in tuberculosis due to Mycrobacterium bovis in several of the mammal species in addition to buffalo, which could delay the implementation of the proposed TFCA.

The Gonarezhou National Park has a similarly diverse vertebrate fauna, although the total number of species and of individuals is lower. Elephants and several species of ungulates used to move freely between South Africa, Mozambique and Zimbabwe before fences divided the area. Unfortunately, the many years of civil war in Mozambique coupled with recurrent droughts and a serious lack of management capacity has resulted in the decimation or even complete elimination of most of the large and medium-sized mammals from Zinave and Banhine National Parks and from the intermediate areas. The extent of the decline is difficult to determine because no systematic surveys have been carried out in this part of Mozambique for over 20 years.

The plant life of the proposed TFCA is equally as diverse, varying from tropical to subtropical with some temperate forms occurring at higher altitudes. Nearly 2,000 species of vascular plants have been collected in the Kruger National Park alone. The proposed TFCA is also of great cultural-historical value, as underlined by the recent discovery of archeological sites at Thulamela Hill in the Kruger National Park from the gold and ivory culture which prevailed from about 1200 to 1640 AD (Branch, 1988; Carruthers, 1995; Gelderblom et al., 1997; Greyling & Huntley, 1984; Jacana Education and the National Parks Board, 1996; Nel, 1996; Sinclair & Whyte, 1991).

Existing settlements will be incorporated into the TFCA, and no attempt will be made to force people to relocate to other areas. Rather, every effort will be made to develop outreach programmes to offer people opportunities to work with conservation and/or tourism development activities. Communities living in and around the Park have never been consulted on the Park's development before. This is therefore a crucial exercise to ensure that all role-players are in agreement to the future development of the Park. On request of the Mozambique wildlife authorities, Direcção Nacional De Florestas e Fauna Bravia (DNFFB), the Peace Parks Foundation through its Peace Parks Development Programme (PPDP) is currently supporting a household survey to assess the needs of the communities, and a survey of other potentially affected parties, including NGOs and government departments. From this, projects will be developed to ensure that the economic potential of the Park will be maximized to the benefit of conservation and the communities living in and around the Park.

In South Africa, the Makuleke people lodged a successful land claim for land between the Luvuvhu and Limpopo Rivers from which they were removed in 1969 to make this area part of the Kruger National Park. The claim involves the Makuleke people regaining formal title to some 22 000ha of land, and at the same time committing this land to remain part of Kruger National Park. The land will in future be known as the Makuleke Region of the Kruger National Park. The community aims to use nature tourism as a main vehicle for development, economic growth and job creation. In essence, the plan envisages the eventual development of six lodges at key identified sites in partnership with professional operators from the private sector.

With 72% of the proposed TFCA in Mozambique, considerable investment will be required in infrastructure development and capacity building before the area can realize its enormous potential as one of the world's greatest sanctuaries for biodiversity conservation and for nature-based tourism. With the removal of fences from the eastern boundary of the Kruger National Park, there will be a gradual and natural restocking of mammals in the areas immediately adjacent to the Park, but both the Banhine and Zinave National Parks in Mozambique will require substantial restocking programmes.

There is already an extensive and well developed tourism infrastructure within the Kruger National Park, with 25 rest camps of various sizes providing 4,056 beds as well as 405 caravan/camping sites. These are complemented by the more "upmarket" accommodation provided in the numerous private conservation areas adjoining the park. Facilities generally are far less developed in Gonarezhou, with just one rest camp providing 21 beds, and a small number of camping sites. In Mozambique, Coutada 16 has a small tourist camp operated by a private contractor. There are no facilities in Zinave or in Banhine National Parks, and access is difficult. There is great potential for commercial tourism development on the Mozambique side of the TFCA, but this will not succeed unless coupled with a significant effort to make progress with the priority activities mentioned above.

6. Lubombo TFCA. Development of the Lubombo TFCA was given further momentum with the signing of the Lubombo Transfrontier Trilateral Protocol between Mozambique, South Africa and Swaziland at the World Economic Forum summit on 22 June 2000. This proposed TFCA straddles the border between South Africa, Mozambique and Swaziland. It is situated on a low-lying coastal plain between the Lubombo Hills in the west and the Indian Ocean in the east, and offers a unique combination of big game, extensive wetlands and coastal areas. The TFCA is 4,195 km2 in extent, of which 317 km2 (8%) is in Swaziland, 2,783 km2 (66%) is in Mozambique, and 1,095 km2 (26%) is in South Africa (Map 7). In Swaziland, the King holds all the land in trust for the nation. The proposed TFCA will eventually incorporate Hlane National Park, and the Mlawula, Simunye and Mbuluzi Nature Reserves, Lubombo Conservancy, a small section of Sisa Ranch and Malahleni dispersal area, all of which are in the process of being incorporated into a new conservancy. The Maputo Elephant Reserve in Mozambique was established in 1932, and was subsequently increased in size in 1969. All the remainder of the land in the country is state owned communal land, with a relatively low population density. Approximately 8,000 people live between the Maputo River and the coast. In South Africa, the Ndumo Game Reserve was established in 1924, and the Tembe Elephant Park in 1983.

The consolidated area will be particularly important for elephant conservation. Tembe (90 – 100 elephants) and Maputo Elephant Reserve (approximately 200 elephants) are the only indigenous populations remaining on the coastal plains of southern Mozambique and KwaZulu-Natal (South Africa) in protected areas, and the two areas would be linked together. A study is being initiated to measure the ecological and population variables that will play a key role in restoring the former coastal plains elephant population, which is today separated into two discrete populations, one in Maputo Elephant Reserve in Mozambique and the other in the Tembe Elephant Park in South Africa.

The 102 species of mammals in the proposed area include both black and white rhino, and other Red Data Book mammals include samango monkey Cercopithecus mitis, suni and red duiker. Unfortunately, severe poaching has reduced or even eliminated several species of large mammals from the Mozambican side, presenting an important opportunity for mammal restocking programmes, particularly of buffalo, hippo, tsessebe, Burchell's zebra, blue wildebeest, roan, sable, oribi, waterbuck, eland, kudu, impala, bushbuck, steenbok, suni, and nyala, only to name a few key species. When ungulates are established, cheetah and wild dog can follow. Of the more than 427 bird species found in the area, four species and 43 subspecies are endemic to the Maputaland centre of Endemism. In the Ndumo Game Reserve alone, 416 bird species have been recorded. The 112 species of reptiles include the loggerhead and leatherback turtles, which nest along the extensive beaches. The vegetation of Maputaland falls within the savanna biome, and consists primarily of Subhumid Lowveld Bushveld and Natal Lowveld Bushveld, with limited Coastal Bushveld–Grassland, a complex mosaic of savanna, sand forest, grassland, dune forest, floodplain, pan systems and swamp communities. The conservation of these sand forests and their associated fauna in particular is important, as this habitat type is very limited in extent. The world's largest remaining area of sand forest (5 km wide and 20 km long) lies to the north of Ndumo Game Reserve in Mozambique. This area alone has tremendous potential for tourism because of its rich birdlife. The proposed TFCA is one of the most striking areas of biodiversity in the world. It contains an exceptionally high number of species of fauna and flora, and is a zone of sharp transition, representing the southernmost extent of the East African flora and fauna, and the northernmost extent of many of the southern African species. It also contains many endemics spread over the whole taxonomic spectrum. The proposed TFCA is the core of the Maputaland centre of endemism, which was recently recognized as the only centre of plant diversity in Mozambique. The TFCA also has a strong cultural history. In Swaziland, near the proposed TFCA, archeologists have made several interesting discoveries, including a very rare record of modern man dating back 110,000 years, as well as many Early and Middle Stone Age remains (Acocks, 1988; Bruton & Cooper, 1980; Gelderblom et al., 1997; Mountain, 1990; van Wyk, 1996; World Bank, 1996).

The extraordinary biodiversity of this TFCA, coupled with its magnificent scenery, makes this area yet another potentially significant new southern African tourist destination. Existing tourist facilities are concentrated on the South African side of the border. Ndumo Game Reserve has a good network of roads, seven three-bed cottages, and a small luxury lodge. Tembe Elephant Park has adequate roads and three tented camps. In Swaziland, Hlane National Park has good roads, one small camp offering rustic accommodation and a more modern camp with three self-contained cottages. Two camping sites are available in the Mlawula Nature Reserve. In the Maputo Elephant Reserve, access is at present restricted to 4x4 vehicles. There are many opportunities throughout this TFCA for private sector investment in the tourism industry.

7. Maloti / Drakensberg TFCA. The Drakensberg is the highest region in South Africa. The proposed TFCA is 8,113km2 in extent, of which 5,170 km2 (64%) is in Lesotho and 2,943 km2 (36%) is in South Africa (Map 8). It will contain the largest and most important high altitude protected area in the subcontinent, supporting unique montane and subalpine ecosystems. The area has spectacular scenery, as well as being an important centre of endemism for montane plant species. The high altitude streams, oxbow lakes and wetlands, coupled with the high annual rainfall (800 mm at lower altitude to 2,000 mm near the escarpment) make a major contribution to the provision of water for the urban and industrial complexes in the South African provinces of Gauteng and Mpumalanga, and this will be further enhanced through the Lesotho Highlands Water Project which is presently under construction in Lesotho. On the South African side of the border, a number of provincial nature reserves have been combined together with state forests, wilderness areas and nature reserves proclaimed in terms of the Forest Act to form the Natal Drakensberg Park. This is now being managed by the KwaZulu-Natal Nature Conservation Service as a statutory protected area, incorporating Giants Castle Game Reserve, Royal Natal National Park, Loteni Nature Reserve, Vergelegen Nature Reserve, Rugged Glen Nature Reserve, and the state forests at Cathedral Peak, Monks Cowl, Highmoor, Mkhomazi, Cobham and Garden Castle. The continuity of the protected area on the South African side of the border between the Royal Natal National Park and Cathedral Peak is broken by the amaNgwane Tribal Area. However, several members of the resident local community have already expressed interest in having the Tribal Area developed for a variety of ecotourism progammes which would be compatible with the activities within the Natal Drakensberg Park. On the Lesotho side, the Sehlabathebe National Park ranks as a schedule IV protected area in terms of IUCN protected area categories. Portions of the alpine belt of Lesotho have been earmarked as a Managed Resource Area in terms of the Managed Resource Order No.18 of 1993. The proposed TFCA is home to a variety of ungulates, including bushbuck, eland, reedbuck Redunca arundinum, mountain reedbuck, grey rhebok Pelea capreolus, klipspringer, black wildebeest Connochaetes gnou and oribi, although numbers are generally low. About 246 species of birds have been recorded, of which 14 are listed in the Red Data Book. The Tsoelikana River harbours the highly threatened Maloti/Drakensberg minnow Oreodaimon zuathlambae which was thought to be extinct. The vegetation of the TFCA falls within the grassland biome, and consists mainly of Alti Mountain Grassland with some Moist Upland Grassland in the lower-lying areas. An estimated 30% of the plant species within this biome are endemic to the Drakensberg. There are also several areas of Afromontane forest in the sheltered valleys. Both sides of the border contain important archaeological sites in the form of some outstanding examples of San cave paintings and artefacts. With the combination of these exceptional natural and cultural features, the whole TFCA deserves nomination as a World Heritage Site. The entire Natal Drakensberg Park has already been accepted for listing under the Ramsar Convention as a wetland of international importance. The harsh climatic conditions have deterred permanent settlement within the TFCA with the exclusion of a few recent isolated exceptions, although the Lesotho side is used in the summer months for domestic cattle grazing. (Acocks, 1988; Bainbridge and Motsami, 1995; Gelderblom et al., 1997; Hilland and Burtt, 1987; IUCN, 1990; Smith, 1997).

The establishment of the TFCA has been under negotiation since 1982, and the negotiations are ongoing. Initially these took place under the aegis of an Intergovernmental Liaison Committee. This was halted in 1993 after the election in Lesotho, but was continued in 1996 by the KwaZulu-Natal Nature Conservation Service working closely with the National Environmental Secretariat of Lesotho. In the same year, the Natural Resources Institute of UK's Overseas Development Administration prepared and submitted a proposal for European Union funding for a major conservation programme in a 1,000 km2 pilot area of the TFCA within Lesotho (Natural Resources Institute, 1996). Expected key outputs will be comprehensive strategies for livestock husbandry, natural resource conservation, ecotourism, environmental education and extension, and sustainable land use. ECU 2 million was subsequently granted from the Lome III Indicative Programme. In July 1997 a meeting was held in Maseru with representatives of the Natal Parks Board and the National Environment Secretariat, where it was agreed that a formal Project Steering Committee should be established to drive the initiative forward. One of the primary goals of the Steering Committee would be the establishment of a Section 21 company for the TFCA.

The South African side of the border has an extensive network of accommodation facilities, with the best developed being in the Royal Natal National Park and the Giant's Castle Game Reserve. All the reserves have campsites and self-catering chalets. The higher mountains have a number of caves that are used by overnight hikers and mountaineers. In Lesotho, limited accommodation is available only at the Sehlabathebe National Park.

8. Lake Malawi/Nyasa TFCA. At a trilateral meeting in May 1999 held in Dar es Salaam, attended by representatives of the governments of Malawi, Mozambique and Tanzania, as well as development agencies, donors and NGOs, an ambitious plan was unveiled. Delegates endorsed a proposal to create a TFCA stretching from Lake Malawi/Nyasa to the Indian Ocean, spanning an area of over 100,000 km2, and incorporating designated protected areas in all three countries (Map 9). In Tanzania, it includes the Selous Game Reserve (a World Heritage Site), Livingstone Mountains, Mbamba Bay on the shores of Lake Malawi, the proposed Mtwara Corridor linking the Lake to the Indian Ocean as well as the proposed Mnazi Bay Marine Park at the mouth of the Ruvuma River. In Mozambique, it incorporates the Lago Niassa Game Reserve and marine areas in the north of the country. In Malawi, it includes Malawi and Liwonde National Parks, several forest and game reserves, the Nyika Plateau and riverine areas of the Rukuru, Ruangwa, Bua and Shire Rivers.

During the Dar es Salaam meeting, the stakeholder states recognised the need to involve and consult with all the stakeholders at community and national level. From the 14th to 15th of October, a Malawi National Consultative Workshop was held at Nkopola Lodge. At the end of the workshop a task force was formed to take the consultative process forward and implement the recommendations agreed at the workshop. Tanzania hosted a local consultative workshop in Makambaku, Iringa District, and a National Consultative Workshop in Dar es Salaam. The consultative workshops for Mozambique have been postponed since the dates coincided with those of the political campaigns. A Strategic Planning Workshop was held in Benoni, Johannesburg from 13 – 15 December 1999. A Facilitator employed full-time to assist the three countries participating, as well as the three Interim Steering Committee (ISC) members representing Malawi, Mozambique and Tanzania attended. They identified the goal of the strategic plan as that of "securing the commitment of the participating governments to collaborative management of the natural resources within the Lake Malawi / Nyasa / Niassa Basin and Catchment Area" (Wahome, 2000).

The proposed TFCA has areas of magnificent scenic beauty, as well as an array of culturally diverse communities, and a large number of species of conservation significance across the taxonomic spectrum. The Lake itself is a shared resource among the three countries and is home to an estimated 1,000 species of fish belonging to 11 different families, including over 400 documented species of cichlids, many of which are endemic. The cichlids are particularly vulnerable to extinction from over-fishing, pollution, and other environmental hazards. The only area set aside for the protection of the cichlids is the 94 sq.km Lake Malawi National Park (LMNP), which adjoins and extends into the southern portion of the Lake. The LMNP established in 1980 as the first freshwater, underwater national park in Africa, is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The communities in the Lake Basin live in abject poverty, deriving their livelihood from the natural resources of the area. Small-scale fishermen using simple methods within 2km of the shoreline catch about 90% of the Lake's fish, which account for about 70% of the animal protein consumed by the population of Malawi. The fishing industry employs about 40,000 people directly, and supports another 250,000 in related activities. Development of the TFCA must therefore involve these communities as custodians of the natural resources, partners and stakeholders.

The Peace Parks Foundation's fundraising strategy

During the initial stages of the growth and development of the Foundation, funds will be raised by the following three main methods: 1) Membership of the Peace Parks Club. The Foundation has launched a Peace Parks Club, and His Royal Highness Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands has accepted the appointment as the President of the Club. A package of travel and accommodation benefits is available for Club members for a period of ten years on receipt of a one-off payment (Peace Parks Club, 1997). One thousand individuals are being invited to become Individual Founder Members (US$ 5,000 each), together with 100 Corporate Founder Members (US$ 50,000 each). 2) Grants from bilateral and multilateral aid agencies, and 3) Grants and donations from individuals, corporations, Trusts and Foundations.

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