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The world's largest wildlife conservation area

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KAZA TFCA is home to 325,000 African elephants, like the one above, nearly half of the total African population. (Photo: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

March 15, 2012 marked the launch of the world's largest conservation area, stretching across five African countries. The Kavango Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (KAZA TFCA) spans 440,000 square kilometers and encompasses 36 national parks, game reserves, wildlife management areas, and tourism areas.

Supporters of the initiative, including the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), hope connecting the areas will allow animals protected passage along corridors within their natural migration routes. Among other species, the park is home to 325,000 elephants, nearly half of the total African population.

The KAZA TFCA has been in the works since 2003. Leaders of Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, and Zimbabwe gathered in 2011 to sign the treaty that established the park, creating the world's biggest and most critical conservation area.

The park is also expected to become a major tourist destination. The KAZA Ministers are counting on tourism to drive the sustainable economic development for the park and to primarily benefit local communities. One and a half million people live inside the boundaries of the KAZA TFCA. WWF is assisting in efforts to teach techniques that allow communities to benefit financially from wildlife conservation efforts on their land.

The hope is that the five countries working together will be more effective at stopping poaching and other wildlife-related crimes. Pooled resources, such as shared patrols and intelligence, should help protect the park and its wildlife and attract investors and tourists to the region.

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KAZA TFCA is home to 325,000 African elephants, like the one above, nearly half of the total African population. (Photo: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)
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