Conservation involves so much more than just fauna and flora. It involves people, and as the Peace Parks Foundation knows very well, in conservation areas stretching across borders, the cooperation of each country becomes a key factor to its success. With a vision to establish a network of protected areas that links ecosystems across international borders, this is no small task.
As the Southern Africa region became politically stable, hope for regional peace, democracy and development grew. It took visionary leaders in the mid 1990’s to give live to a dream of trans-frontier conservation areas (TFCAs) in Southern Africa. In 1997 the Peace Parks Foundation was founded by: HRH Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands, Nelson Mandela and Dr Anton Rupert.
The southern Africa peace parks incorporate over a million square kilometres (375 000 square miles) and covers over half of declared conservation estate in the region. It’s the size of two countries combined like Spain and France!
A wide range of different projects are undertaken by the Peace Parks Foundation which includes: community involvement, wildlife relocation, water and fire management, GIS analyses and mapping and veterinary services. The four pillars are: securing protected land, training wildlife managers, training tourism managers and improving accessibility through infrastructure and policy development.
Kgalagadi, Maloti-Drakensberg, Greater Mapungubwe or the Kavango are a few of the 18 TFCA’s in Southern Africa. The Peace Park Foundation is directly involved in ten of these conservation areas.
In the words of Johann Rupert, Chairman of Peace Parks Foundation:
“Our job is to keep on doing what we do – giving the tools to the right people, so they can do what they really need and want to do, which is to improve the lives of their communities in a sustainable way. At a local level, and indeed at a global level, this means finding practical, mutually beneficial ways for man and nature to thrive together. If we can keep on demonstrating that this is in fact possible, then I’m very hopeful about the future.’
For more information, or to download the brochure with a map, visit Peace Parks Foundation.