79,938,000 hectares (799,380 sq. km) (308,642 sq. mi)
Cahora Bassa Dam
Black rhinoceros, cheetah, wild dog, african elephant, lion
Located on the southeast coast of Africa, the Republic of Mozambique is divided into two regions by the Zambezi River. The north features a narrow coastline, low plateaus, and rugged highlands and the south has broad lowlands. The savannah and dry woodland habitats near the border of South Africa's Kruger National Park are home to elephants, impala, duiker, springbok, kudu, and ostrich. Nearby, Banhine National Park is an important source of water in an overall arid area that is a sanctuary to wattled cranes and a wide variety of migratory birds as well as the killifish, a highly localized fish species of high ornamental value.
Filled with rich and extensive natural resources, Mozambique has enjoyed a growing economy based on agriculture, food and beverage processing, aluminum production, petroleum production, and chemical manufacturing. More than 75 percent of Mozambicans do small-scale farming. In 2012, large natural gas reserves were found, which could have a huge impact on the economy. Although its economy continues to grow, Mozambique remains one of the poorest countries in the world.
Mozambique’s government realizes actions speak louder than words and is undertaking large conservation efforts both on land and water. Mozambique is now committed to protecting areas like Quirimbas National Park, Bazaruto National Park, and Lake Niassa Reserve. In 2012, it also created the largest coastal/marine reserve in Africa with the Primeiras and Segundas Archipelago Environmental Protection Area, an archipelago chain of ten islands that feature some of Africa’s most flourishing marine life and coral reefs.
While the economy is beginning to flourish, the same can’t be said for wildlife in Mozambique. Much of the country’s wildlife was decimated during the 1970s and 1980s when civil war disrupted government and private conservation efforts.
Poachers have killed more than 10,000 elephants in Mozambique’s nature reserves since 2011. Mozambique is one of the poorest countries, and many individuals are forced to earn a living by participating in poaching.
Recently, studies have found that many poachers from Mozambique cross the border to South Africa’s famous Kruger National Park to primarily poach for rhino horn. In Mozambique, there are no strict penalties for rhino poaching or possession of rhino horn, which provides little deterrent from participating in activities that decimate wildlife populations.
Mozambique is now at a crossroads, as poachers continue to kill for bush meat, ivory, and rhino horn — and people continue to exploit natural resources. Mozambicans must be provided opportunities to pursue sustainable livelihoods, take steps toward conservation, and build an infrastructure that fosters more economic opportunities.
Our solutions to protecting Mozambique's unique biodiversity:
Due to the lethal combination of corruption in law enforcement and lax regulations, the poaching crisis in Mozambique continues unabated. In partnership with Peace Parks Foundation, AWF’s Canines for Conservation will be deployed at strategic transit sites and major trafficking hubs throughout Mozambique to curb poaching of rhinos, elephants, and other iconic species. Canines are a proven tactic in deterring the ruthless and bloody wildlife trade.
AWF and the Mozambique Ministry of Tourism signed a historic agreement to solidify and formalize their longstanding partnership to restore the country’s once-abundant and flourishing wildlife by developing new tourism revenues for local communities.
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