Cross-border Conservation Land Grabs

This collaborative multimedia project uses on-the-ground reportage, bolstered by satellite, drone imagery and data analysis, to investigate whether an initiative to create an anti-poaching buffer zone to protect elephants and rhinos from machine gun-wielding gangs along Mozambique’s 360 km border with the world-famous Kruger National Park in South Africa is degenerating into a ruthless land grab by crooked politicians and business elites.

Dispossessed communities claim their land is being unfairly usurped by South African conservation companies, not to combat poachers, but rather to create eco-cocoons for the mega-rich. Villagers claim the South Africans are being helped by a former Mozambican president and local politicians, through a combination of bribes and failed promises, deliberately stoking land conflicts and even collusion with the poaching mafia.

The team includes international award-winning reporters in Mozambique and South Africa, drone pilots, 360° photographers, data analysts and software engineers, and digital storytelling experts.

Kruger’s Contested Borderlands

Displaced communities in Mozambique are calling out rich foreigners and corrupt politicians, saying their land is being unfairly taken in the name of environmental conservation.

Kruger's Contested Borderlands

Are eco-cocoons the solution to poaching? Tourism buffer along the border of world-renown Kruger National Park targets wildlife poachers, but displaced communities say it’s a land grab.

Meet the Journalist: Estacio Valoi

Oxpeckers Investigative Environmental Journalism's Estacio Valoi discusses Kruger's contested borderlands and how he overcame the challenges of reporting in a remote zone by using new media tools.

Watch Now: Tools and Tips for Cross-Border Data Journalism Projects

Watch Jacopo Ottaviani and the Pulitzer Center's Steve Sapienza discuss the growing use of data journalism in Africa's newsrooms, tips for organizing cross-border collaborations, and how civic technology capacity is influencing the use of open data and open governments in certain African countries.