Five African countries have come together to establish a conservation area the size of Italy.
The Kavango Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area, or KAZA TFCA, spans five southern African countries: Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe, centered around the Caprivi-Chobe-Victoria Falls area. It encompasses over 20 existing conservation areas and national parks.
Its goal is:
To sustainably manage the Kavango Zambezi ecosystem, its heritage and cultural resources based on best conservation and tourism models for the socio-economic wellbeing of the communities and other stakeholders in and around the eco-region through harmonization of policies, strategies and practices.
Building on previous initiatives, the difference with KAZA TFCA is that it is owned and led by the governments of the five partner countries, with a clear focus on conservation as the primary form of land use and tourism being a by-product thereof. The World Wildlife Fund’s experience is being drawn on to ensure local communities benefit from conservation.
Coordination and pooling of resources will help in the battle against poaching.
Linking the areas up is meant to allow animals, such as its 325,000 elephants, to return to their natural migration routes along protected corridors.
There are a number of other transfrontier conservation areas (TFCAs), including three across the US/Canadian border and one is being discussed joining the Big Bend National Park in the United States with the Maderas del Carmen and Cañon de Santa Elena protected areas in Mexico. Several others in Southern Africa are being developed.
Watch the video by Peace Parks Foundation about the Simalaha Community Conservancy — the first of its kind in Zambia — and one of the critical steps towards realizing the dream of the world’s largest contiguous game area.
Image screengrab Kavango Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area website