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The wildlife sanctuary in the Zinave National Park, in the southern Mozambican province of Inhambane, is being extended to house more species and stimulate their reproduction. The park covers 725,000 hectares, and within it the wildlife sanctuary operates over an area of six thousand hectares where animals are protected by fencing. Under the current expansion plans the sanctuary will grow to cover an area of 18,000 hectares. The park's administrator, Antonio Abacar, explained that the expansion, which is being sponsored by the "Peace Parks Foundation", aims to maximise the use of the area's resources such as water and vegetation. With the extension, the sanctuary will include a sacred forest and its own lake.

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According to Abacar, "within five years the work that has been carried out in cooperation with the Peace Parks Foundation will be more visible". Abacar was speaking to journalists during a reception ceremony to mark the arrival of another batch of waterbuck and buffaloes from the Gorongosa National Park and the Marromeu National Reserve. He admitted that the park still needs to improve some aspects so that it can attract more tourists, but stated, "the priority is to have wildlife and flora of an acceptable quality and then the tourist camps will come".

The warden pointed out that the park has already received 340 waterbuck from Gorongosa and will soon get another sixty. He added that a hundred reedbuck are to be supplied by Gorongosa along with 71 buffaloes from Marromeu. Furthermore, the Kruger National Park in South Africa is to supply fifty elephants, as well as wildebeest and zebras. Abacar lamented that the park's access roads are in a poor condition which makes attracting tourists difficult. In addition, it takes between two and three days for relocated animals to arrive in the park by road.

He also drew attention to the continuing conflict between wild animals and the local population, with two people killed this year after attacks carried out by crocodiles and hippopotami. However, on a positive note, Abacar said that the problem of poaching was pretty much under control with about thirty weapons being confiscated from poachers so far this year. The park has 45 wardens with another 35 currently undergoing training.

Source: All Africa