When we last covered developments in the Reserve in 2006 they had just created buffer zones around the perimeter and were creating and allocating hunting concessions in the interior. Today the Niassa Reserve has nine hunting concessions within its borders where full bag safaris are being conducted under one of the most transparent hunting programs I have ever seen. That includes a very successful lion management program that for the first time last season (after only two years of implementation) produced trophies all more than six years of age! Also, surveys there show a stable and increasing lion population of 2,300. At a time when lion hunting is under critical review across Africa, it's good to see a management program with such demonstrable success. Wildlife managers everywhere should be taking a close look at the Niassa Reserve's program. It is one to be emulated.
In case you're unfamiliar with the Niassa Reserve, it is a vast wilderness covering 42,000 square kilometers, or more than 10 million acres. It lies in northern Mozambique where it borders Tanzania and straddles Mozambique's Niassa and Cabo Delgado provinces. Anabela Rodrigues, who runs the Reserve, took the time to meet with me and explain not just how their hunting program works, but also the history and challenges faced by the Reserve. You can read more about that in an in-depth article on the Niassa Reserve that I have posted on The Hunting Report web site under Website Uploads. (If you are not web-ready, call 305-670-1361 for a copy.)
Although overall quotas are set by the government of Mozambique, Rodrigues pretty much has autonomy within the Reserve on how hunting is managed and conducted by operators. All operators are thoroughly checked out before receiving a concession and are subject to expulsion if they don't stick to the rules. It is the Reserve's strict requirements and meticulous record keeping that have allowed them to increase........(continued)