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World’s largest preserve forming in Africa

April 08, 2012

Five nations in Africa have come together to create the world’s largest conservation area for wildlife.

Elephants have no respect for lines on a map, especially the artificial national boundaries established by Europeans after carving up Africa into colonial empires. But national boundaries have kept elephants and many other animals cooped up in southern Africa.

The nations of Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe agreed to ease some of their own border controls in order to create what will be the world's largest conservation area, reported PRI's "Living on Earth." A chunk of land the size of California will include a variety of habitats and allow wildlife to migrate to greener pastures in the dry season and keep their feet dry during the wet season.

Africa's iconic wildlife, elephants, lions, crocodiles, leopards, rhinos, hippos and buffalo, are expected to bring in tourist dollars. Without the incentive of tourist revenues encouraging conservation, the animals were just a danger and a pest to locals, who had to fear elephants raiding their crops and lions stalking them at night, without the legal right to hunt problem animals.

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Victoria Falls in Zambezi will be inside the conservation area. (Wikipedia Commons)

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