The United States will donate over US$10 million to conservation projects in the Niassa Special Reserve, the US embassy in Maputo announced yesterday.
The amount will be made available in the next five years and will be managed by the Wildlife Conservation Society and Mozambique’s National Administration for Conservation Areas (ANAC), according to a press note sent to celebrate World Forest Ranger Day, which is marked on Sunday, July 31st.
“This day celebrates their work as committed guardians of Mozambique’s natural heritage and honors the memory of those who died in the fulfillment of their duty to protect wildlife from poachers and to conserve essential wildlife spaces,” reads the note.
Created in 1960, the Niassa Special Reserve, in northern Mozambique, is the country’s largest protected area, covering 42,400 square kilometers.
According to official data, in the last five years, the United States has already made available close to 15 million dollars (almost 13 million euros) for the managers of the Niassa Reserve, in addition to more than 50 million dollars (42 million euros) made available to Gorongosa National Park (in the center of the country) to combat wildlife poaching and support the livelihoods of local communities.
Poaching in Mozambique has been a serious threat to wildlife in the country, having drastically reduced some species, according to official data.
According to the latest data from ANAC, since 2009, the country has lost at least ten thousand elephants and, in the Niassa Reserve alone, the total number of this species dropped from 12,000 to 4,400 in three years (between 2011 and 2014).
More recent reports indicate that the country lost, between 2011 and 2016, 48% of its elephant population.