Conservation area between Angola and Namibia may be launched in 2008

6 June 2006

Luanda, Angola, 06 June – The creation of a cross-border nature conservation area between Angola and Namibia could become a reality in 2008, as preparation for the project is due to begin this month at a bilateral ministerial meeting, official said.

The scheduling of this meeting follows the approval of the memorandum of understanding with Namibia by the Angolan government, which outlines the creation of a cross-border area covering the Iona National Park in Angola and the Skeleton Coast Park in Namibia.

The creation of the cross-border park in the South of Angola and North Namibia aims to improve the management of these protected areas in both countries, promoting the integrity of their ecosystems, the conservation of biodiversity and sustainable development.

The new park, which may come to be called the Iona Skeleton Coast Park, began to be negotiated by the authorities of the two countries over three years ago with the aim of making it possible to recover the Iona National Park.

In August 2003, the Environment Ministries of both countries signed an agreement to create a ministerial committee for developing this project.

The protected area is intended to boost the animal population of Iona National Park, which covers and area of 15,000 square kilometers in the province of Namibe in Southern Angola.

Iona was once home to large numbers of rhinoceros, lions, elephants, zebras and ostriches and was seriously affected by poaching, which led animals to search for safer locations.

Namibia has said it is willing to transfer some of the large population of animals it has in the Skeleton Coast Park to Angola.

Angola’s national parks and natural reserves, which were all but abandoned during the country’s civil war, cover an area of 82,000 square kilometers of a total of 1.2 million square kilometers for the whole country. (macauhub)