Big News for Gonarezhou National Park Ending 2021


The Legacy Landscapes Fund supervisory board has decided to fund two more protected areas: Gonarezhou National Park, Zimbabwe, and Odzala-Kokoua National Park, Republic of Congo. Both sites will be funded with one million US dollars annually for at least 15 years.

Just last month, November 2021, the Legacy Landscapes Fund (LLF) Board approved funding for its first two protected areas North Luangwa National Park in Zambia and Madidi National Park in Bolivia. Like Gonarezhou and Odzala-Kokoua National Parks, each will receive one million US dollars annually for at least 15 years. LLF’s objective is to establish a portfolio of at least 30 globally significant legacy landscapes by 2030.

The Legacy Landscapes Fund, launched in spring 2021, will contribute to the core financing of the management of these two globally important protected areas and their buffer zones. The LLF will help to maintain their function as biodiversity havens and carbon sinks. The sites have outstanding biodiversity.

After 30 years of absence, critically endangered black rhinos were re-introduced to Gonarezhou National Park by the Gonarezhou Conservation Trust’s team of experts and partners in 2021 – Photo credit Gonarezhou Conservation Trust.
  • Photo credit: Bad Rabbit Studio

Gonarezhou National Park is home to an estimated 11,000 elephants, truly deserving its vernacular name as ‘Place of Elephants’. The Park, located in Zimbabwe’s South-East Lowveld, covers just more than 5,000 km² of spectacular scenery incorporating the iconic Chilojo Cliffs, wide meandering rivers, and extensive woodlands.

All parks within the LLF cooperate closely with local populations and adjacent communities. Gonarezhou National Park is no different. About three-quarters of Park staff originate from within 15 kilometers of the Park´s boundary. This showcases how conservation can be a vital income source.

Svenja Schulze, who was recently appointed German Development Minister, states: “Conserving biodiversity for local people will continue to be a focus for Germany’s international engagement. I am therefore particularly pleased that the LLF is funding further protected areas. It is our goal and aspiration to support more areas as soon as possible. This will also benefit the local population.”

Long term protection for Gonarezhou National Park

Elephants in front of the famous Chilojo Cliffs in Gonarezhou National Park
Elephants in front of the famous Chilojo Cliff in Gonarezhou National Park – Photo credit: Daniel Rosengren

“Protected and wild areas remain the mainstay of biodiversity conservation and our best tool at mitigating against climate change across the globe. Managing these areas effectively requires long-term commitment and funding. We are very fortunate to have a handful of very dedicated donors who have stood by us during some challenging times,” said Hugo Van der Westhuizen, Director of the Gonarezhou Conservation Trust

“With Gonarezhou National Park now selected as a Legacy Landscape under the Legacy Landscape Fund, it will only further secure the future of this living landscape and key protected area for generations to come.”

Hugo Van der Westhuizen

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