Since 2010, Peace Parks Foundation has been involved in a rewilding project in support of Mozambique’s National Administration for Conservation Areas (ANAC) that has seen more than 4 200 animals translocated to Maputo Special Reserve. Species reintroduced over the past 11 years include warthog, kudu, nyala and giraffe, as well as a variety of plains game such as impala, waterbuck, blue wildebeest and zebra, each having their own role to play in restoring the Maputo Special Reserve ecosystem. During 2018, the Reserve received 32 buffalo, 49 nyala, 95 zebra and 20 impala and in 2019 Maputo Special Reserve received another 99 buffalo, translocated from Sabie Game Park. This year, the reserve welcome a founder population of four cheetah.

Now, a small herd of buffalo have been identified as a potential threat to a community near Naamacha, just outside Maputo Special Reserve. There is a strong possibility of human-wildlife conflict if the teams do not intervene as buffalo can be extremely aggressive when coming in close contact with people as they look for food and water in community gardens and rivers. To avoid such conflict and to ensure both humans and wildlife can live in harmony, Peace Parks and partners provides a solution through translocation. As veterinarian Dr Joao Almeida explains, Maputo Special Reserve needs buffalo in order to restore balance the park’s ecosystem, and Naamacha would be a much safe place to live without the presence of the buffalo, so moving these animals leads to a win-win situation for all involved.

With support from Mozambique Wildlife Alliance’s veterinarians, Dr Joao Almeida, Dr Hugo Pereira and others , the animals are tracked down using a telemetry that picks up signals from collars already fitted on the buffalo. Tracking collars are invaluable when it comes to finding shy animals in difficult terrain. These buffalo have been living in this landscape long enough to know exactly how to outmanoeuvre the team. Once the animals’ location is identified, the team loads up the equipment and the team heads off by helicopter. They need to dart and capture the particular buffalo quickly and safely.

Tune into tomorrow to see what happens next…