Message from Pedro Muagura – Park Warden Gorongosa National Park
A very warm “bom dia” to you! Thank you for reading our Gorongosa 2018 Highlights report, which you will see reflects a year of many changes. First, I congratulate Mateus Mutemba, our former Park Warden, on his appointment in March this year as Director General of ANAC, the National Parks Authority in Maputo. I am extremely proud of him and will do my best to continue his excellent work here in Gorongosa. He left me with a wonderful protected area and a top team.
The national peace process set into motion in December 2016 is promising and people are normalizing their lives. We know that our projects in the northern Buffer Zone of the Park are at the forefront of post-conflict stabilisation and peace building.
Our coffee project on Mount Gorongosa is doing well. The Mountain was the site of civil conflict for many years. Not only are the coffee plantations and nurseries active again, our local farming partners are back on board. We were able to bring in a first harvest this year. This is encouraging and brings hope to the communities on the Mountain, many of whom were affected by the civil unrest of the past years.
Restoration of the Park wildlife population continued this year. One highlight is the successful reintroduction of a 14-member painted wolf group (also known as mabecos). Mabecos were part of the Gorongosa ecosystem in the past but were extirpated from the Park – so it is wonderful to welcome this beautiful species back ‘home’. Our tourists and community visitors from the Park Buffer Zone love them – and members of the schoolchildren’s Eco-clubs selected names for all 14 upon their arrival.
In association with the Universities of Zambeze and Lúrio, the Instituto Superior Politécnico de Manica and also in partnership with the University of Lisbon in Portugal, we have initiated the first Masters in Conservation Biology Program in Mozambique with 12 students. As far as we know, it is the first Masters in the world conducted entirely inside a National Park. How’s that for innovation to create future science and conservation leaders for Mozambique!
This year we embarked on a 15-month strategic planning process that will culminate in our new Strategic Plan 2020–2050 and a 10-year Business Plan. We aim to coordinate all our donors under a unified strategic umbrella. We are working closely with local district governments and communities to ensure that we develop a joint vision and that we agree on responsibilities for a long-term, successful conservation and development path for all.
I am inspired by the progress we have made this year. This momentum helps me face the hard work and challenges every day. From the bottom of my heart, I thank our team members, our partners and supporters. Without you this work would not be possible. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!