Call it Noah’s Ark on lorries: on Sunday, dozens of trucks rolled over the Zimbabwe savanna carrying elephants, giraffe, African buffalo, zebras, and numerous other large iconic mammals. Driving over 600 kilometers of dusty roadway, the trucks will be delivering their wild loads to a new home: Zinave National Park in Mozambique. The animals are a donation from Mozambique’s Sango Wildlife Conservancy – a donation that owner, Wilfried Pabst, says wouldn’t be possible without funds from controversial trophy hunting.
“In remote places and countries with a weak tourism industry and a high unemployment rate, it is very difficult – or almost impossible – to run a conservancy like Sango without income from sustainable utilization,” Pabst said.
‘Sustainable utilization’ means the ‘use’ of wildlife for hunting or trophy hunting. Pabst, who purchased Sango in 1993 and opened its doors ten years later, says that trophy hunting provides approximately 60 percent of the revenue required to keep Sango Wildlife Conservancy running every year. Another 30 percent comes out of the German businessman’s own pockets.
While Sango does welcome non-hunting tourists, Pabst says it’s not possible to attract enough in this remote area to equal the revenue made by trophy hunters willing to travel far-and-wide to pay tens-of-thousands of dollars to shoot iconic megafauna, including everything from Nile crocodiles to elephants to lions.
Sango to Zinave
Over the next six years, Pabst will be donating 6,000 large mammals from Sango to Zinave National Park as a apart of the Peace Park Foundation’s programme to rewild a vast tract of land in the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation Area (TFCA).
Mozambique’s 15-year-long civil war left its once world-renowned parks almost wholly empty of any animal large enough to shoot and eat, but numerous efforts today are working to bring back animals to…