Due to the buffalo’s large appetite for vegetation, outside national parks these giants are considered crop pests and are seen as dangerous animals due to their size, aggressive nature, and formidable horns. Moving these buffalo from Naamacha into Maputo Special Reserve is good news for all concerned, reducing the risk of human-wildlife conflict and giving the buffalo a large area in which to thrive.
The buffalo are sedated and blindfolded in order to keep their stress levels to a minimum whilst being transported to Maputo Special Reserve. On arrival, the vets check over each of the seven buffalo, administering a drug to bring them round before they are released into their new home.
Maputo Special Reserve is a conservation success story. It is well-managed and protected – strengthened by impactful partnerships between the Government of Mozambique and conservation agencies. Peace Parks Foundation signed a long-term partnership agreement with Mozambique’s National Administration for Conservation Areas (ANAC) which has boosted the development of the reserve significantly.
The reserve combines coastal lakes, wetlands, swamp forests, grasslands and mangrove forests and has a pristine coastline that supports a wide variety of bird and marine life. It is quickly developing into a prime tourist destination which will be enhanced with the planned development of new tourism camps within the reserve, further unlocking economic opportunities for local communities.
As an added benefit, adding more buffalo to the reserve is another step towards rewilding the area. As buffalo are herbivores, grazing mostly on grass and as they forage, they aerate the soil with their hooves which aids growth of other plants and disperses native seeds, helping to maintain a healthy and balanced ecosystem.
However, in this particular case, the buffalo are being moved to mitigate human-wildlife conflict. As these animals are aggressive by nature, it is an important part of Peace Parks’ programme to mitigate the pressures of overpopulation or human-wildlife conflict at the capture location, thereby halting what could evolve into difficult situations for both animal and humans.