After landing in Banhine National Park the previous evening, Peace Parks Foundation’s Senior Project Manager in Mozambique, Antony Alexander, wakes up at the crack of dawn to get a head start on the day. With a jam-packed to-do list filled with everything from Herding 4 Health to testing out 4×4 expedition routes, Willem Scheepers, Banhine’s Counter-Poaching Coordinator, picks Antony up just as the rising sun lights up the morning sky.

With Banhine’s incredible scenery in every direction, it’s hard not to be in good spirits. First up on the list is to look at some possible new roads for the park in previously inaccessible areas due to severe flooding that took place two years ago. The receding water level has now opened many new areas to traverse and explore, which is good news for the team as they are in the midst of planning a 4×4 expedition due to take place in Banhine towards the end of 2022.

Herding for Health

After 4x4ing their way over rough terrain, the pair meet up with Domingos, the Herding 4 Health Project Manager in Banhine, to discuss some recent challenges that have arisen due to the current drought in the area. Herding 4 Health is a community development programme which is supported by the Swedish Postcode Lottery that promotes conservation outcomes while supporting people living in rural areas to find their way out of extreme poverty.

The programme was born out of the need to address human-wildlife conflict that communities who live in and around protected areas constantly face. This is done through implementing holistic grazing programmes, constructing predator-proof bomas and providing employment opportunities. All these outcomes aim to address challenges such as community politics, land degradation caused by overgrazing and the need to lift communities out of poverty and lessen their dependence on precious natural resources.

Here in Banhine, the recent drought has caused the local communities who live on the park’s boundary to move their livestock further into the park, where there is increased access to water. This has, however, presented problems such as overgrazing and human-wildlife conflict, which Antony and the Herding 4 Health team have come to solve to ensure that both communities and nature remain happy.

From problem-solving to planning routes for a 4×4 expedition, there is never a dull moment with the Peace Parks team!

Stay tuned to Peace Parks TV tomorrow to find out what the rest of Antony’s trip to Banhine National Park holds.