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Mozambique is a vast country covering over 800,000 km2 in south-eastern Africa bordering the Indian Ocean. It shares Lake Niassa (Lake Malawi) with neighbouring Malawi. The lake is thought to harbour over 600 endemic species of fish, primarily cichlids. Biodiversity is also high along the coast and in the mountains in the north and east of the country.
New species are continually being discovered in Mozambique, which shows how diverse and understudied it is. A Fauna & Flora International (FFI) survey in Niassa Reserve led to the discovery of a new species: the Mecula girdled lizard (Cordylus maculae). A number of butterfly, snake and plant species were discovered in 2008 on Mount Mabu in Zambezia province. Many of the new species are unique to Mozambique.
After independence from Portugal, Mozambique suffered a civil war which ended in 1992 and from which it is still recovering. As a result, poverty is still widespread and the country is ranked 172 on the Human Development Index. Most of the population lives in the coastal regions and the hinterland has generally low population densities.
FFI has been involved in Mozambique through support to the Niassa Reserve since 2000. Our input has helped to double the Reserve’s elephant population over the past decade.
The largest mid-altitude rainforest in southern Africa, Mount Mabu in Northern Mozambique, has only recently come to the attention of scientists who have discovered a number of endemic and range-restricted species. FFI is working with local partners to develop a Community Protected Area for the rainforest on Mount Mabu, and to support a livelihoods programme which focuses on providing alternatives to the shifting agriculture which is so prevalent in the area.
At 42,000km2 – the size of Denmark – Niassa National Reserve is one of Africa’s largest and most undeveloped wild areas. It is home to thousands of elephant, sable antelope, zebra, and other iconic African species, including the second largest population of the Endangered African wild dog. FFI supports our partner Sociedade para Gestão e Desenvolvimento da Reserva do Niassa to manage and promote the reserve, in particular to develop human-wildlife conflict mitigation strategies and an integrated management plan for the Lugenda river, the source of a major fishery for local communities. Wildlife populations have doubled since FFI became active in Niassa in 2000 – a clear sign that we are having a positive impact on this unique protected area.
If you close your eyes and think about exploration, what images are conjured up in your mind? A Victorian gentleman perhaps, bedecked with khaki overalls, explorer’s hat and an extravagant moustache. You might imagine gruelling journeys and mosquito bites, and long hard treks through the jungle carrying butterfly nets. You probably would not imagine someone sitting at a computer, intently focused on Google Earth. But that is exactly how the forest on Mount Mabu, Mozambique, was discovered. Often referred to…Read more