The meeting in Zimbabwe to discuss the predator management plan for the new transfrontier conservation area, covering the corners of Zimbabwe, Botswana and South Africa where they meet, was highly productive. It seems that March next year is the date that we will see the fences beginning to come down, which is a huge triumph for the conservation of this region. Without the fences animals can move more freely and so the populations need less management, and the freedom of movement of herbivores can reduce the unnaturally high pressure on some habitats that is forced by fences. Looking at the predators in particular, it will be of most notable effect with the Lions and Wild Dogs who will be able to form contiguous populations with the residents on the other side of the borders. The cheetahs, as we have seen, seem to be moving quite freely anyway, and trees along fences form easy paths in and out of reserves for the leopards.
One of the single biggest issues in conservation in Africa is the pressure on land and the contraction of habitats, so by expanding conservation areas, we are taking huge steps in the right direction. This process is something I am extremely proud to play a part in.
The following map shows the area that will be incorporated into the Limpopo-Shashe Transfrontier Conservation Area