It is one of nature’s great partnerships, the symbiotic relationship between the zebra and the wildebeest. Both grazing species, they nevertheless graze in harmony because they eat different types and parts of the grasses in the plains (zebra feed on the long, tough grasses while wildebeest feed on the shorter grasses). Both also travel together during migration periods to find food and water, each species bringing its unique skills into play. Zebra have great recall of safe migration routes, which helps the more aimless wildebeest. Wildebeest have superior hearing and smell, so can alert the zebra to predators. It is by working together that these species survive and thrive.
Rather aptly, the translocations this week are symbolic of the way that Peace Parks Foundation and partners work together to achieve transfrontier conservation. It is all about collaboration. This particular project is the result of a cross-border collaboration between the governments of South Africa and Mozambique. Drawing on the expertise of South Africa National Parks’ (SANParks) Veterinary Wildlife Services – responsible for the welfare and management of animals across all 19 parks in Africa – it is their team that plans and carries out the capture, transport and release operations. Peace Parks Foundation is the NGO that funds and films the operation, further helping to promote the work and attract donors to the larger cause. It is down to effective partnerships like these, built on mutual trust, respect and collaboration, that cross-border conservation works.
Rewilding Africa is Peace Parks’ most ambitious cross-border conservation project. Wildlife is moved – or translocated – from areas of overpopulation to areas of decimation. By reintroducing wildlife to ecosystems where the species once thrived, biodiversity is once again restored, whilst the potential for securing the future of the protected areas and the people that depend on it for their livelihoods through nature-based tourism is increased exponentially. At the same time, the process relieves pressures of overpopulation at the capture location, thereby halting what could evolve into devastating habitat degradation. This process is made possible only through the support of the donor community and dedicated partnerships with organisations that have been translocating wildlife for many years.
In these two translocations, 27 Zebra and 62 blue wildebeest make the 1 250 km journey from Kruger National Park in South Africa to Zinave National Park in Mozambique to join the other reintroduced animals (now more than 2 400) that now thrive under the restoration and management programmes being implemented there. This is all part of a co-management agreement between Mozambique’s National Administration for Conservation Areas and Peace Parks Foundation.
Watch every day for up-close, action-packed footage from the field. If you want to know what really happens in wildlife translocation, this is the week for you.
If you would like to help rewild Africa and be part of the Peace Parks’ mission, you can donate here: www.peaceparks.org/donate
Remember, it’s not just a gift. You will be making a meaningful difference and impacting the course of conservation history.