Mozambique, located in southern Africa, boasts a vast coastline along the Indian Ocean, which features numerous sought-after beaches, mangroves, and reefs, as well as offshore marine parks. The country’s inland areas are home to a diverse range of wildlife species living in their natural habitats and protected wildlife reserves. Sadly, the increasing occurrences of poaching and animal smuggling within Mozambique and across its borders have put this thriving and healthy population at risk.
It is a scenic country in south-eastern Africa this picturesque country cradles a wealth of natural resources and a rich diversity of both biological and cultural features, with a tropical climate compatible with a wide selection of beasts and creatures. With a long coastline bordering the Mozambique Channel, it is also home to some of Africa’s most magnificent natural harbours, rivalling those of its more renowned neighbour Madagascar.
Despite the nation’s abundance in natural features the human rights situation, however, worsened in 2021, largely because of the ongoing violence in the northern Cabo Delgado province. The humanitarian crisis in the province has the escalated due to public security issues and violence, causing the displacement of over eight hundred thousand people.
And like their human counterparts, the animal population also lies under threat with the recent rise of criminal activity and illegal hunt of exotic beasts.
The local wildlife includes big game like lions, cheetahs, elephants, leopards and rhinos as well as smaller animals like antelopes, zebras and hyenas. There is also a wide array of marine wildlife which includes the humpback whales, whale sharks, manta rays, dolphins, dugongs and turtles.
Here is a list of the more notable species found in the local ecosystem.
1. The African Bush Elephant
Also known as the African savannah elephant, it is not only the largest terrestrial animal but also a fantastic example of resilience. The local population has been extremely threatened by civil wars, poaching for its meat and ivory and habitat degradation.
2. The Chacma Baboon
The Cape Baboon, also recognized as the Chacma Baboon, is an Old World monkey whose fascinating attributes include exceptional social behaviour. They are observed to practice female adoption of young baboons, friendship pairings and group foraging. They are found in substantial colonies and are opportunistic omnivores that consume a diverse range of items, from fruits to small antelopes.
3. The Black Mamba
With rapid, multiple strikes, long range, agility and unpredictability, this venomous snake species is exceedingly perilous. It can even travel at a surprisingly fast pace of 16 kilometers per hour. These snakes inhabit Mozambique’s woodlands, savannahs, and lowland forests, and are comfortable in both terrestrial and arboreal environments.
4. The Blue Monkey
The Diademed Monkey, also referred to as the Blue Monkey, is an Old World monkey species that originates from Central, South and East Africa. In Mozambique, they can be spotted in the country’s northern half and southernmost regions. These primates’ primary concern is the destruction of their natural environment, as they prefer tall trees that are increasingly becoming scarce.
5. The Waterbuck
The waterbuck is a large antelope species that can be divided into two subspecies. The common waterbuck, also known as the ellipse waterbuck or the ringed waterbuck, is the variety present in Mozambique. These animals have a sedentary lifestyle and typically congregate in groups ranging from six to thirty individuals. These gatherings can consist of either all-male groups or nursery herds with females and their offspring.
6. The South African Giraffe
The Cape Giraffe is a subspecies exclusively indigenous to Mozambique, South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Namibia. This particular population is at risk due to both habitat loss and poaching, and there is a chance that they may vanish within the next few decades if no measures are taken to safeguard them today.
7. The Hippopotamus
These semi-aquatic mammals are a substancial species indigenous to sub-Saharan Africa. Throughout history, they have experienced one of the most significant drops in population among all African mammals. Once widespread across all of sub-Saharan Africa and the Nile River banks, they are now restricted to small, scattered populations in various countries. Despite being an ungulate, this animal is unexpectedly dangerous and regarded as one of Africa’s most lethal creatures due to its unpredictable and often aggressive behaviour.
8. The Common Wildebeest
Indigenous to southern Africa, the white gnu, also known as the brindled gnu, is a sizeable type of bovid-antelope. This animal’s habitat extends from Mozambique, north of the Orange River, to the southern regions of Angola and south-western Zambia.
9. The Bryde’s Whale
The whale species in question is of medium size and is indigenous to temperate, subtropical and tropical waters. This type of whale is a member of the same category as humpback and blue whales, both of which are also present in Mozambique. When expelling water, it can create a spout as high as 3 to 4 meters (10-13 feet).
10. The Spinner Dolphin
Found in subtropical and tropical waters, the spinner dolphin is a diminutive species of dolphin. Its name originates from the seemingly acrobatic performances it showcases. It is a nocturnal species that prefers to rest in shallow bays during the day.
11. The Namuli Horseshoe Bat
After over a decade of extensive research by scientists using nearly invisible mist nets to capture their initial samples, it has been confirmed that Mozambique’s latest mammal species is a small bat that feeds on insects. These bats reside in the endangered forests surrounding Mount Namuli, which also happens to be Mozambique’s second tallest peak.
As amazing as Mozambique’s wild life is, this gorgeous population now stands under threat in the face of civil war, poaching and smuggling of animals and animal products. The crimes committed against wildlife species across the world generate about twelve billion dollars each year, making it a very tempting business for many who have access to these exotic species and can find a way to ship them out of the country. The products extracted from wild animals are mostly destined, allegedly, for Asian countries but it is apparent that the illegal trade begins on the African continent, endangering native exotic species.
The conservation authority expressed concern about wildlife crime, and called on the media to contribute to raising the conscience of society regarding the preservation of nature.
Ultimately, while it seems amazing that this spectacularly varied wildlife could exist and thrive so beautifully in one nation together, it is also of utmost importance that we understand the need to keep them that way.
Mozambique has taken the initiative in the fight against poaching and imminent extinction of their local species by securing natural reserves where wildlife is kept under the authorities’ watchful eyes, safekeeping them from the grasp of illegal traders waiting right at their doorsteps.