A new 20-year agreement will see the restoration of wildlife populations at Matusadonha National Park in Zimbabwe, which stretches from the Matusadonha hills down to the shores of Lake Kariba. African Parks in partnership with the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority will implement management strategies to secure the park, unlocking its ecological, social and economic value.
At 1470-square-kilometres, Matusadonha is an ecologically-diverse landscape flanked by the Ume and Sanyati rivers. It holds a special place for Zimbabwe as a tourism and heritage area, with its spectacular position on Lake Kariba. It is home to more than 240 bird species, baobab woodlands and wildlife, including elephant, lion and buffalo. However, decades of poaching coupled with inadequate resourcing have contributed to its decline, as elephant numbers have been drastically reduced and the once abundant population of black rhinos has been largely eliminated.
The new programme will see the restoration of the park, implementing good infrastructure, law enforcement, conservation and community development programmes. Once a stronghold for black rhino, the park will be secured and reestablished as a sanctuary for these critically-endangered animals and other key species. A management priority will be to enhance this status, enabling local communities to benefit from sustainable tourism.
“Zimbabwe has a strong history of conservation excellence, and our shared ambition is to ensure that Matusadonha is revitalised as one of southern Africa’s leading protected areas,” says Peter Fearnhead, CEO of African Parks.