In Mozambique, Edward Rosenfels of Western Safaris has forged a partnership with Barrie Duckworth of Mokore Safaris to create the Rio SAVE Safaris syndicate. If Rosenfels' name and company sound familiar it's because his father has run Western Safaris in Zimbabwe since 1979. Rosenfels says Western Safaris and Mokore Safaris have worked out a unique deal with the Mozambique government and the villagers of Coutada 9. The deal involved creating a Campfire-type program in which Coutada 9 (220,000 hectares) was rezoned into three areas. The core area is for conservation only. No agriculture or settlements are allowed in the core area. That core is surrounded by a campfire-type zone, which is managed by the villagers. This area will serve as a buffer between the core conservation area and the third zone, which is the agricultural area where the villagers can plant crops and live. The villagers will be encouraged to conserve the wildlife through a payment system in which they receive 25 percent of fees from animals taken in the core area and 75 percent from animals taken in the campfire area.
Central Mozambique was where the civil war was concentrated. But before that, it was considered one of the best hunting concessions in the country. Rosenfels says when they first arrived several years ago to look at Coutada 9 and neighboring Coutada 13, the wildlife was "devastated." Duckworth convinced him that the potential for this area is simply too good to let it go. Rebuilding the area included habitat development projects, such as dams to improve water availability and implementing a crack anti-poaching team. For the agricultural area they developed roads, schools and have other long-term projects in the works. Rosenfels says it is working. Where they had trouble finding game before, today they can see 200 animals a day. Zebra were scarce in the beginning, but with the water improvements they now see zebra all the time. They also have an abundance of warthog, seeing up to 100 around the waterholes.
"The game has definitely begun to come back," Rosenfels told me. The deal for........(continued)