Bazaruto Archipelago National Park in Mozambique Celebrates 50th Year Anniversary
Maputo, Mozambique – Bazaruto Archipelago National Park (BANP), Mozambique’s first and oldest marine national park, celebrated its 50th year anniversary on May 28th, 2021, coinciding with the 10th Anniversary of the National Administration of Conservation Areas (ANAC), a division of the Mozambican Government responsible for conservation within the country. To commemorate BANP’s founding, its progress over the last 50 years, and the role the park plays for local communities, a celebratory event was held in Sitone, on Bazaruto Island. Attendees included representatives from the Inhambane provincial government, ANAC, the district government of Inhassoro and Vilankulo, the magistrates, local communities, the tourism sector and media, among others.
BANP was founded on May 25th, 1971, in a progressive move by the Government of Mozambique to protect this outstanding seascape – a natural asset of significant national and global value. Made up of five islands, three of which are home to approximately 5,000 local people, the archipelago provides sanctuary for thousands of fish species, whales, manta rays, dolphins, nesting marine turtles as well as the region’s last remaining viable population of dugongs. Its sheer beauty and diversity of wildlife has made Bazaruto a coveted Indian Ocean tourist destination.
Bazaruto has experienced some key milestones over the years from its initial founding in 1971, which declared a 1,430 km2 area as the country’s first national marine park, recognizing its importance for at least five species of turtles and harboring a viable population of critically endangered dugongs. In 2017, ANAC invited conservation organization African Parks to enter into a 25-year-long agreement to restore, develop and manage Bazaruto Archipelago National Park, and revitalize it to become one of the leading and most productive marine protected areas in eastern Africa. Since 2017, Bazaruto now maintains a significant ranger team of 53 well-trained individuals, 16 of whom are women, who actively patrol the park to prevent illegal activities, especially large-scale fishing, within its boundaries.
“We were honored to partner with ANAC in 2017 to assist them in realizing their vision of ensuring that this significant landscape be adequately protected long into the future” said Bazaruto Park Manager, Armando Guenha. “This is a unique park where thousands of people are dependent on it being managed and protected, because it supports their livelihoods – from the food it produces, to the jobs it creates. It is our privilege to be working with the Government of Mozambique to help protect this profoundly important ocean gem, something they saw worth protecting 50 years ago”.
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- Bazaruto is the oldest marine park in Mozambique and was founded in May 1971.
- The National Administration of Conservation Areas (ANAC), which directs the management of Mozambique's national parks and reserves, and African Parks signed a 25-year agreement in 2017 to restore, develop, and manage Bazaruto Archipelago National Park.
- The park contains a range of terrestrial and marine habitats which provide refuge for over 170 bird species, 48 reptile species, 21 species of terrestrial mammals, nine marine mammal species, 500 species of marine and coastal mollusks, and 2,000 fish species.
- The Archipelago protects the last viable population of 250 dugongs in the Western Indian Ocean. The dugong is the only living representative of the once diverse family Dugongidae, as its closest modern relative, the Stellar’s sea cow was hunted to extinction in the 18th century.
- Bazaruto maintains a 53-member ranger team, 16 of whom were women, who have completed basic field ranger training courses, first aid instruction, and some even scuba diving. The ranger-unit has been fully operational in the park since January 2019.
- When the catastrophic Cyclone Idai befell Mozambique in March 2019, Bazaruto delivered benefits far beyond its borders. An emergency response was launched in the immediate aftermath, bringing over 140 tonnes of food, 37 doctors, 1,500 kg of medical supplies and 2,200 kg of other essential items to more than 2,900 families left devastated by flooding.
About African Parks: African Parks is a non-profit conservation organization that takes on the complete responsibility for the rehabilitation and long-term management of national parks in partnership with governments and local communities. They currently manage 19 parks in 11 countries including Malawi, Zambia, Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Chad, with the goal of managing 30 parks by 2030. Please visit www.africanparks.org to learn more; or follow them on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.Read Portuguese Version