Conservation through collaboration: Karoo Corridor Project given the green light

Cape Town - The Department of Environmental Affairs has approved the implementation of the management plan for the Mountain Zebra-Camdeboo Protected Environment (MZCPE), also known as the Karoo Corridor Project.

The 120km stretch of conservation area aims to link up the Camdeboo and Mountain Zebra National Parks and preserve the area's grassland biome and the Cape mountain zebra, and well as protect the area from any fracking or mining initiatives. Other risks to the corridor include climate change, fire risks, inappropriate historical management of herbivores and certain types of development.

MAP: Mountain Zebra-Camdeboo National Parks get NEW protection corridor

It was first declared a protected environment in 2016 and the management plan was approved last year in August. It was born from a partnership between SANParks and 65 private landowners whose property fall under the Karoo Corridor. The area is also made up of three other biomes besides grassland - Nama Karoo, thicket and savanna - and thus has a unique flora and fauna due to the transition between them.

“We are very pleased to see this exciting project come to fruition”, says Richard Slater, Managing Director at Mount Camdeboo and Vice Chairman of the MZCPE Landowners Association. “The intention within this initiative is to create a protected environment of good and ethical land management according to a code."

Mount Camdeboo Private Game Reserve was the first private property to get on board with the project in 2012.

Bronwyn Botha, the Buffer Zone Coordinator from SANParks coordinating the Protected Environment, adds, “The reason we have been able to make this a reality is that land use in the area is already very compatible to conservation and the realisation that to conserve ecosystems, one cannot be operating in isolation, but needs to work together to conserve the systems that make this area viable."

ALSO SEE: WWF and CapeNature peg plans for new protected Succulent Karoo corridor 

In the Western Cape, the Leslie Hill Succulent Karoo Trust, WWF-SA and CapeNature also started to make plans in 2016 to create a Succulent Karoo corridor and set out to educate private landowners in the Little Karoo and the Breede River Valley about conservation options for their properties through a stewardship programme. 

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