The purchase in March of a 40 hectare plot of land brings to the end almost eighteen months of hard work negotiating the purchase of a network of small land holdings to create a corridor of protected land between REGUA and the estate owned by our friend Carlos Lemgruber. In total REGUA has purchased 334 hectares from 12 different families using funds donated by the World Land Trust, American Bird Conservancy and the IUCN National Committee for the Netherlands.
Some of the purchases were extremely complex due to the uncertainty of land boundaries and the number of family members that claimed a share in each plot, however as always, Nicholas’ perseverance and diplomatic skills eventually resolved all the issues. This area is critical to REGUA’s ambition to ultimately join up the reserve with the land owned by the Primatology Centre but it was threatened by the gradual spread of small houses and subsistence farms along the tracks radiating from Matumbo.
These purchases bring the land protected by REGUA to 6,949 hectares, although in reality the actual size is likely to be significantly greater than this as historically land deeds have understated the sizes in order to minimise state taxes. Meanwhile REGUA is already working on its next purchase, the 675 hectare Lemgruber estate using money raised by the World Land Trust and BIAZA (British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums).