In order to guarantee their jobs and cover the wage costs of the rangers and staff who are indispensable for supporting inspection of the conservation areas during the period of crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, the Foundation for the Conservation of Biodiversity (BIOFUND) announced on Wednesday a fund of three million dollars that will help pay the wages of about a thousand rangers in conservation areas, under public and private management, which have seen their income fall as a result of the lack of visitors since the Covid-19 pandemic exploded across the globe.
BIOFUND makes Three Million Dollars Available to Pay Rangers in the Protected Areas
The Covid-19 pandemic has had a negative impact on revenue in various sectors of activity, and tourism is one of the areas most affected, due to the restrictions on people entering and leaving the country, as well as on the domestic circulation of people, Thus there are enormous uncertainties for the operators of these sectors.
Named the “Emergency BIO-FUND”, with the motto “Protecting Natural Resources in Times of Crisis”, the direct support for the operators of conservation areas will be implemented in two phases. The first will provide direct support to the public sector to cover the wage costs of approximately 150 public sector rangers, and the second phase will cover 800 rangers in the private sector.
According to Luís Bernardo Honwana, the Executive Director of BIOFUND, “currently the sector faces the great problem of maintaining the entire structure of guarding our natural assets when it does not have the income that derives from tourism”. Honwana thus considers that this constitutes a situation of crisis, and “as a solution, BIOFUND has decided to set up this fund so that it can support the operators of the conservation areas so that they can continue with their work of inspection”.
For his part, Jorge Ferrão, of the BIOFUND Board of Directors, stressed that “the first phase of this emergency fund should last for six months, and will be followed by a second phase that will be more comprehensive in terms of its duration and the support to be provided, depending on the evolution of the pandemic in the country”.
Although this action is temporary, particularly for this period of crisis caused by the pandemic, the private operators regard the BIOFUND initiative with great satisfaction, since many of the communities living alongside the conservation areas depend directly on the revenue coming from those areas.
“All the conservation areas under private sector management have thousands of people in resident communities whose first opportunity of employment comes from the operator beside them, and afterwards comes the wild life which belongs to the State and to all of us”, argues Pacheco Faria, of the Mozambican Association of Safari Operators.
“After the initial studies and surveys, we decided to support ANAC and operators representing at least nine conservation areas under private management and all the public conservation areas.
After the initial period, will come the phase which could last longer depending on the evolution of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has been shaking the country since March this year. The fund operated by BIOFUND, in partnership with the national Administration of Conservation Areas (ANAC) and he Mozambican Association of Safari Operators (AMOS) could benefit 19 national parks and reserves, 20 official hunting areas and a variety of other categories of hunting areas, existing in 14 important ecological regions of the country.