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The new Great Limpopo Transfrontier National Park...Read this...

Here is an article about the new game reserve which has been created in southern Africa. Would love to hear anyones' thoughts and input...

High Hopes at Launch of Africa's Largest Game Park
Mon Dec 9, 9:26 AM ET Add Science - Reuters to My Yahoo!


By Joseph Oesi

XAI XAI, Mozambique (Reuters) - The leaders of three countries launched Africa's biggest national park Monday -- a vast swathe of savanna teeming with game that they hope will draw much needed tourist dollars to the region.


AP Photo



The Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park, which covers an area roughly the size of Belgium, straddles South Africa, Mozambique and Zimbabwe and is due to open to visitors early next year.


South African President Thabo Mbeki, Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and Mozambique President Joaquim Chissano officially christened the park at a ceremony in the Mozambican resort town of Xai Xai on the Limpopo river.


"The successful merging of our individual parks into the Limpopo Transfrontier Park tells us that nothing is impossible, and yet this increases the challenge on all of us to ensure that we create the correct conditions for the balanced development and advancement of our countries," Mbeki said.


Environmentalists have applauded the park, which combines South Africa's Kruger national park, Mozambique's Limpopo park and Zimbabwe's Gonarezhou national park into one huge swathe of savanna home to game including lions, rhinos and elephants.


It covers an area of 13,500 square miles and communities within its boundaries will remain.


But critics have raised reservations about the participation of Zimbabwe, where there have been reports of wildlife being killed inside national parks as the country slides deeper into political and economic crisis.


Uncertainty over Zimbabwe has delayed plans for the park, but Monday officials said it was time to move forward.


"Today's event serves to remind us that that which unites us is greater than that which seeks to divide us," Mugabe said.


TOURISM CHALLENGE


Along with removing visa restrictions and building new transit links for tourism, the three countries have launched a drive to help wildlife spread more fully across the area.

More than 1,000 animals, including dozens of elephants, have been transferred from South Africa to Mozambique, where a long civil war took its toll on the native animal population.

Officials hope the new park will draw more travelers to a region which is struggling to lure large numbers of tourists.

While Mozambique has never been a major tourist destination, South Africa has been hit by several high-profile attacks against tourists amid fears over its high crime rate.

Zimbabwe has seen its once-thriving tourism industry drop off sharply in the wake of Mugabe's controversial land reform program, blamed for tipping the country into economic chaos.

South Africa's opposition Democratic Alliance party questioned Zimbabwe's participation in the project, saying on Monday that several Zimbabwean game parks and nature reserves had been invaded and wildlife killed.

"The South African government should explain how they will prevent these invasions from spreading into the Transfrontier Park," the party said in a statement. "This ambitious cross-border project should not jeopardize the Kruger National Park, the flagship of our entire eco-tourism industry."




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