At 42,000 km² the Niassa Game Reserve is the third largest protected area in Africa and one of the last great wilderness areas on the continent. Historically, it hosted 70% of Mozambique’s elephant population and is one of the five most important areas in Africa for the conservation of lion and wild dog. Illegal logging, mining, uncontrolled settlement, agricultural expansion and rampant elephant poaching are compounded by weak protected area management and a lack of meaningful stakeholder engagement.
Our Role: Working in partnership with Fauna & Flora International (FFI) and in liaison with the previous Reserve management authority - Sociedade para a Gestão e Desenvolvimento da Reserva do Niassa (SDGRN) - we lead a bidding and contract negotiation process which secured three concessions within the wider reserve that now make up the newly formed Chuilexi Conservancy. At 5,868 km² these contiguous concessions represent 14% of Niassa Reserve and host the greatest densities of wildlife. In this crucial initial phase, we are providing ongoing technical leadership in all aspects of Conservancy management.
Outcomes: Chuilexi Conservancy has created one of the largest privately held, non-hunting based conservation concession holdings in Africa. With funding support from FFI, we have coordinated the development of a framework of roads, bridges, airstrips, outposts and headquarters; recruited and deployed a comprehensive hierarchy of personnel; and are implementing new law enforcement, wildlife monitoring and community engagement programmes. A robust platform and new benchmark has been created not only for the conservation of Chuilexi itself but also for the rest of the Niassa Reserve. Snaring has been significantly reduced, illegal logging curtailed and the incidences of elephant poaching are comparably much lower. Conservation Capital is now building an enterprise strategy to secure the longer-term financial sustainability of the Conservancy. Chuilexi’s role and performance is increasingly being recognised, most recently through formal participation in a US Government award to the wider Reserve.