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Will World's Biggest Conservation Area Live Up to its Promise?

Shutterstock_lion_louie_schoemanYoung lion, via Shutterstock  Photographer: Louie Schoeman

Last year, the presidents of five African nations made official the Kavango Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (KAZA TFCA), the largest conservation area to ever be approved. And last month the park was officially launched during a ceremony in the Namibian town of Katima Mulilo.

But a recent National Geographic news story raises some questions over whether the conservation area will attain its aggressive goals.

By signing the KAZA TFCA treaty, the leaders of Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe approved a park that brings together 36 national parks as well as other existing conservation areas, the magazine reports, and which promises to become a major tourist destination. The KAZA Ministers, in fact, say that tourism will be the "major driver of sustainable economic development for the TFCA."

The park is nearly the size of Sweden.

But conservationist Brian John Huntley, a professor at the University of Cape Town in South Africa, told NatGeo that despite its great fanfare and aggressive goals, KAZA will need to prove itself in ways that many other parks have failed to do, "simply because of lack of capacity in various countries."

He said that in the past, major conservation park plans have failed because the conservationists behind the parks were focused on "grand design" but lacked "experience of institutional realities or responsibilities."

Click here for more detail on the park's specific conservation plans.

[Via: National Geographic News]

--Mary Catherine O'Connor

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