Government ministers of five Southern African nations came together on Thursday to form the world’s largest international conservation area – the Kavango Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (KAZA). The new area spans 109 million acres, spans 170,000 square miles (440,000 square kms), almost the size of Sweden.
The protected area combines 36 individual nature preserves, spanning the borders of Botswana, Angola, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe. According to WWF, the area is home to 44 percent of Africa’s elephants and will protect a vast range of animals, birds and plants, which are threatened by poaching and human encroachment.
At a ceremony in Namibia representatives from all participating countries put their official seal on a cross-border treaty set to protect this are for future generations.
KAZA contains the famous Victoria Falls, one of the largest waterfalls on Earth, as well as the Okavango Delta in Botswana, a unique wetlands area that is home to lions, leopards, hyenas, African wild dog, rhinoceroses, baboons, crocodiles, and many others.
Historical wildlife migration routes have been hindered by national borders and man-made conflicts, such as the civil war in Angola. The KAZA conservancy will offer direct benefits to local communities and member countries by creating income opportunities through tourism and other activities.
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