The first measures towards the protection of the area which today is the Niassa National Reserve was in March, 1954, when an official notice, from the Hunting Commission prohibited hunting for commercial purposes in an area of nearly 100 000 km2 in northern Mozambique.
Click to see the area in which commercial hunting was prohibited in early 1954
In October 1954, with the aim of promoting the protection of wildlife species that only existed in this northern part of the country, the Niassa Hunting Reserve was created. Six years later, in July 1960, the limits of the Reserve were change and declared as a Partial Hunting Reserve. In 1969 the boundaries were again redefined, reducing the area of the Reserve to 12 380 km2. Although these remained the legally defined limits of the Reserve until 1999, there were subsequent attempts to enlarge the Reserve, notably during the late 1970s and early 1980s following proposals by Tello and Dutton (1979).
In November 1995, an agreement was signed between Grupo Madal (an agro-industrial company operating in Mozambique since 1903) and the Ministry of Agriculture to jointly develop a rehabilitation strategy and long term Management Plan for the Reserve.
In April 1998, the Council of Ministers approved a proposal (Internal Enactment No. 05/98 and Authorization No. 78/98), which defined the new borders of Niassa National Reserve; the establishment of Sociedade para a Gestão da Reserva do Niassa (SGDRN) as the management entity (see Who’s Who); and lease that provided a secession of rights to SGDRN for a period of ten years.
In November 1999, the new boundaries for the Niassa National Reserve were defined and legalised which included its extension to the Lugenda River, as well as its buffer zone. In 2000 the Articles of Association of SGDRN were published, and in 2002 a 10 year lease agreement was signed between SGDRN and the Ministry of Tourism on behalf of GoM. This agreement came to an end on the 10th of September 2012 and the management of the Reserve was given back to the State.
Niassa National Reserve had previously belonged to a category of conservation area defined as a “partial hunting reserve”. This classification legitimised hunting for certain requirements. Decree 81/99 now declares that the area of the Niassa National Reserve is regulated by the Forestry and Wildlife Law (Law 10/99) and the regulations contained therein, by the Management Plan and the regulation that approves the Plan.