On December 21, Reconnaissance Energy Africa (Recon Africa) announced that it had begun exploratory drilling for oil and gas in the Namibian portion of the Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (KAZA). The move has alarmed environmental campaigners and community groups who are concerned about the impact this could have on the region’s watercourses, people and wildlife. Recon Africa is the holder of a licence to explore a 2.5 million hectare area (6.3-million-acres) of northeastern Namibia, granted to a predecessor company in January 2015. The majority of the area covered by Petroleum Exploration Licence (PEL) 73 sits in the KAZA, a conservation initiative covering 520,000 square kilometres (201,000 square miles) of Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The company also has a licence to prospect for oil in another section of KAZA, 1 million hectare area (2.5 million acres) of northwestern Botswana, where it hopes to begin drilling in 2021. Map courtesy Recon Africa Concerns The KAZA conservation area is home to the largest remaining population of African elephants and is one of the last remaining strongholds of the African wild dog (Lycaon pictus). Recon Africa’s exploration areas in both Botswana and Namibia fall largely within the Okavango River Basin which flows into the richly-biodiverse Okavango Delta — a UNESCO World Heritage site. Conservationists are particularly concerned by the potential impact drilling for oil and gas here could have on the interconnected watercourses of the river basin. “There is a serious lack of knowledge on groundwater resources in the target oil and…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer