Anthropogenic pressure and specifically the encroachment of humans in to protected area spaces is one of the leading causes of habitat loss and wildlife declines. Some of Earth’s most important and biodiverse parks lacking the management, funding and community support have not been able to resist such pressures and have undergone severe degradation. In Gorongosa we recognize that to protect this ecosystem we not only need to secure the integrity of the boundaries of this unfenced landscape, but that we also have to work in partnership with communities to jointly implement solutions adjoining the Park.
Conservation implements two strategies:
1) Ecosystem Integrity teams works side-by-side with communities inside the Park to prevent habitat encroachment and degradation and provide technical and logistical assistance to families that voluntarily choose to leave the Park.
2) Human-Wildlife Coexistence teams work with communities outside the Park to foster co-existence with wildlife and implement preventative strategies to minimize damage by animals that do stray in to communities. As we succeed in restoring healthy populations of wildlife inside the Park, we inevitably face situations of animals straying out of the un-fenced Park and in to communities.
Implementation of co-existence measures includes an array of interventions such as bee-hive fences to deter elephants from crop-fields, or predator-proof bomas to prevent loss of goats and other live-stock to lions and hyaena. Community meetings and ceremonies with traditional leaders are the keystone for this program, towards building understanding, open dialogue and trust with communities as legitimate partners in conservation.
Program Manager Piano Jantar works tirelessly with communities to build understanding on shared principles and goals and serves on the frontlines of “peace-building” during periods of conflict.
The most vulnerable within our buffer-zone communities – women, widows, the elderly – are selected as primary recipients for measures such as elephant-proof silos for food storage.
Advance an integrated multi-partner approach to conservation and to people-centred development. The Gorongosa Project protects the Park’s biodiversity and ecosystem services and unlocks its economic potential for the community inhabitants of the Gorongosa Buffer Zone, Sofala Province, Mozambique and further afield.
A thriving, biodiversity-rich, Greater Gorongosa conservation landscape, which supports Sofala Province as an engine for resilient and sustainable development enabling nature experiences and wellbeing for its people, enriching all of Mozambique and the world.
A Park for Peace
On 1 August, 2019 a historic ceremony was held in Gorongosa to celebrate the Cessation of Hostilities Accord between the leaders of the Government of Mozambique and the opposition Renamo Party. The accord established Gorongosa National Park (GNP) as a ‘Park for Peace’, delivering human development to the communities that share the greater landscape.