Major Conservation Victory in Mozambique!

The Lower Zambezi River is a key breeding ground for endangered Wattled Cranes and a tremendous diversity of wildlife, including the world’s largest concentration of African buffalo and a rare population of “Selous” zebra. It also supports important freshwater fisheries and subsistence farmlands.

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Proposal to dredge the lower Zambezi River and Delta for coal barging – REJECTED
A Wetland of International Importance Saved!

The International Crane Foundation (ICF), together with World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and the Museum of Natural History and other key partners in Mozambique, congratulate the Government of Mozambique for their wise decision to not allow the dredging of the lower Zambezi River and Delta for coal barging.

ICF’s President and CEO, Dr. Richard Beilfuss, was deeply involved in preparing the Environmental Impact Assessment and subsequent communications with the Mozambique Ministry of Environment concerning the need for a holistic, ecosystems approach to Zambezi River basin development.  The Ecosystem Approach would engage all institutions and stakeholders with an interest in the delta to work-together towards finding an appropriate and equitable balance between developing the delta and sustaining the ecosystems upon which that development depends. ICF Research Associate Carlos Bento appeared for one hour on Mozambique National Public Radio to explain to the entire country the impacts of the proposed dredging project on wetlands, biodiversity, and human livelihoods, and encourage the sustainable development of the Zambezi Delta.

A major victory for conservation!

The Lower Zambezi River is a key breeding ground for endangered Wattled Cranes and a tremendous diversity of wildlife, including the world’s largest concentration of African buffalo and a rare population of “Selous” zebra.  It also supports important freshwater fisheries and subsistence farmlands and in December 2004, the Government of Mozambique ratified the Ramsar Convention and designated the Marromeu Complex of the Zambezi Delta as the country’s first and only Wetland of International Importance.  A process is currently underway to extend this designation to include also the Zambezi Delta North Bank.

“For more than 15 years, ICF has worked for the sustainable management and conservation of this unique region,” Dr. Beilfuss noted. “We salute the Government of Mozambique’s decision to use existing and improved rail transport systems for coal export rather than permanently altering the great Zambezi River through dredging and channelization.”

Founded in 1973, ICF is a non-profit conservation organization committed to the wetlands, watersheds, and flyways on which cranes, other biodiversity, and people all depend.  We seek a future where people cooperate to protect and restore wild populations and their ecosystems. Read more about the decision and learn more about ICF’s conservation work in the Zambezi River basin.