Mozambique is a vast country covering over 800,000 km2 in south-eastern Africa, bordered by six countries and the Indian Ocean. Madagascar lies just 419 km off its coast across the Mozambique channel.
Lake Niassa (also known as Lake Malawi) is thought to harbour over 600 endemic species of fish, while biodiversity is also high along the coast and in the mountains in the north and east of the country.
New species are frequently discovered in Mozambique, highlighting just how diverse and understudied the country is. A Fauna & Flora International (FFI) survey in Niassa Reserve, for example, led to the discovery of the Mecula girdled lizard (Cordylus maculae), while a number of butterfly, snake and plant species were also discovered in 2008 on Mount Mabu.
After independence from Portugal, Mozambique suffered a civil war that ended in 1992, and from which it is still recovering, with poverty still widespread. Most of Mozambique’s people live in the coastal regions while the hinterland generally has low population densities.
Mozambique’s elephants are suffering from some of the highest rates of poaching for ivory trafficking in the world. Vast numbers have been killed, with over half suspected to have been lost within the last five years. Rhinos have been completely wiped out, with the country’s last individuals sadly killed by poachers in 2013.