Please beg the Mozambique government not to build a tar road through the Piti Elephant corridor and a harbour in the pristine biodiverse Techobanine region, Southern Mozambique.
This area has been the focus of concerted conservation achievement and development for a considerable time. It borders on both the Isimangaliso Wetlands Park (formerly Greater St. Lucia Wetland Park) and the Lubombo Transfrontier Conservation Area (LTFCA). Isimangaliso was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in December 1999 and the Lubombo Transfrontier Conservation Area was created by agreement between South Africa, Swaziland and Mozambique in June 2000. The LTFCA includes the Maputo Elephant reserve where there large numbers of elephant and rhino roamed, however at the end of the war only 200 elephant and no rhino remained. The Planned harbour will bisect the TFCA from east to west.
The project will develop a 30 000ha site as an industrial zone, the population influx is estimated to be in the region of 250 000 once the development is more advanced and supporting infrastructure and industries are more established.
In July 2009 a Partial Marine Protected Area (PMPA) was declared, extending between Ponta Do Ouro on the South African border and up to the tip of Delagoa Bay to the North. It has been a stated goal of Peace Parks Foundation to extend the Marine Protectorate of the LTFCA northwards to include the area covered by this PMPA. The planned deepwater harbour development is to be placed in the middle of this globally valuable and ecologically diverse area within the most ecologically sensitive zone.
On the 14th June 2011 the Futi Corridor was officially established which extended the LTFCA. On that occasion Mr Fernando Sumbana, Minister of Tourism of Mozambique pointed out: “One of the main reasons for establishing the Lubombo TFCA has always been to reunite the last naturally occurring coastal elephant population in Southern Africa, which historically moved freely along the Futi River and Rio Maputo floodplains. Today, with the approval of Futi Corridor as a protected area, reuniting these elephants, creating a tourism product and benefiting communities, is set to become a reality.” At the edge of the corridor the Mozambique government has undertaken to construct a 6 000 ha wildlife sanctuary, which will be used to relocate different wildlife species from Tembe Elephant Park. The wildlife sanctuary is planned to provide the basis from where Maputo Special Reserve’s wildlife population will be rebuilt. This extension of Maputo Special Reserve adds 24 000 ha to Mozambique’s protected areas.
We the undersigned beg you to not build a tar road through the newly announced Futi Corridor and a harbour with railway lines and an industrial area in the Techobanine region.
This is a pristing biodiverse region supporting a variety of species that are found nowhere else in the world. There are no other wild life regions that allow the tourist to see Whales, swim with Dolphin and Whale Sharks, Scuba Dive on the most stunning Coral Reefs then go game viewing in the afternoon to see the few remaining coastal Elephant, Hippo, Crocodiles and more.
The ECO tourism potential is huge in the long term when all the resorts establish themselves in the region and will surpass the value of the harbour in years to come.
We would really appreciate the opportunity of showing our children and grandchildren what we are lucky enough to view today thanks to your conservation efforts in the region.
Please continue with this effort to save this heritage for posterity.