US millionaire invests in Moza

This park was once one of the largest conservation areas in the world, and Mozambican Tourism Minister Fernando Sumbana says that it is gradually resuming its role in the development of tourism in the country.

Sumbana told AIM that the idea is to recover and restore the entire ecosystem in Gorongosa, involving the local communities, who should benefit from the tourism industry.

The rehabilitation of this park implies the reintroduction of wildlife, such as buffalos, and both black and white rhinos, that had once lived in the park but were decimated by poaching, particularly during the war of destabilisation, that ended in 1992.

The first 50 buffalos have already been introduced. They were acquired from the Kruger Park, in South Africa, at the cost of about 1 000 Euros each.

“I am very enthusiastic about the recovery of this ecosystem”, Carr told reporters recently, describing this undertaking as the largest of his life.

It is estimated that there were about 5 000 hippopotamus and 4 000 elephants in Gorongosa before the war of destabilisation, but they were virtually wiped out.

Gorongosa used to attract tourists from across the world because of its biodiversity, with rich water resources, good access roads and camping sites, and it is expected to attract about 100 000 tourists a year in the near future.

The rehabilitation of the park, that includes building tourist lodges and opening new camping sites, is being coordinated by the Carr Foundation, and involves Mozambican and Portuguese business people.

The Gorongosa rehabilitation project “fits perfectly into the government’s objectives to develop responsible and sustainable tourism to contribute to conservation and to the protection of biodiversity”, said Sumbana. ‘ Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique.

September 2006
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