Inaugural KAZA Summit gathers steam

Trumpet call: KAZA boasts the world's highest number of elephants
Trumpet call: KAZA boasts the world's highest number of elephants

LIVINGSTONE, ZAMBIA: The inaugural Kavango Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (KAZA) Heads of State Summit went into its second day today, with technical officials detailing the health of the rangeland most populated by elephants in the world.

KAZA aerial survey coordinator, Darren Potgieter, headlined a panel discussion on technical issues within the region, focussing on the implication for policy and management.

The KAZA region, a 520,000-square kilometre wetland paradise straddling Botswana, Angola, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe, last year finalised its first combined elephant census which found that the pachyderms’ populations in the area are stable. The census put the combined population at nearly 230,000, the world’s largest continuous population of elephants by far.

Speaking at the Summit, a principal ecologist from Zambia, Twakundine Simpamba, gave highlights on the role of partner states in executing the KAZA elephant survey. Last year’s census involved numerous partner states and organisations such as the World Wildlife Fund as an implementation partner, the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, USAID, CITES as well as governments that include Germany, the United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates and the United States.

For her part, Dr Anna Songhurst of Ecoexist, Botswana gave highlights on elephants’ movement and connectivity in the KAZA region, focussing on key messages for policy and decision makers.

Other panellists included Elly Hamunyela, Director of Scientific Services in Namibia’s Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism, who gave reflections on the CITES Convention and implications for KAZA partner states.

Director of Scientific Services Zimbabwe, Professor Edson Gandiwa, presented on how the KAZA TFC area could manage elephants under changing climate in a semi-arid landscape. He also gave lessons from Zimbabwe and KAZA.

The KAZA heads of State Summit commenced on Sunday and is expected to conclude on Saturday.

The KAZA transfrontier conservation area is a partnership centred around a common vision to conserve biodiversity at scale, through promoting integrated transboundary management and to market the landscape biodiversity using nature-based tourism as the engine for rural economic growth and development.

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