Whilst empirical data is lacking, it seems from anecdotal evidence and published books that Coutada 5 used to be a veritable wildlife paradise during the period of Portuguese supremacy. However, during the protracted civil war following on the withdrawal of the colonial power, civil order collapsed and the biodiversity resources of Coutada 5 were unsustainably utilised to such an extent that virtually all the major herbivore and carnivore species became extirpated. The unsustainable utilisation of renewable natural resources continues to this day. Relic populations of impala, kudu and nyala, as well as small populations of smaller antelope such as suni and oribi, still occur. The species that were exterminated include lion, elephant, buffalo, sable antelope, Lichtenstein's hartebeest, eland, plains zebra, blue wildebeest, reedbuck and waterbuck. Hippo and crocodiles can still be found in the Rio Save, albeit in diminished numbers.

However, the diversity of habitats escaped largely unscathed, except for the long-term negative impacts arising from frequent and uncontrolled veldt fires that take place annually. These habitats include sizeable mangrove swamps along the Indian Ocean coast, a number of intertidal salt marshes, dambos to the landward side of the marshes and the mangroves, and a mosaic of vegetation types. The more important vegetation types include Mixed Deciduous Woodland (extensive), Mopane Woodland/scrub (extensive), Riparian Woodlands (limited), Grassland/Hyphaene Palm Savannah, (extensive), Miombo Woodland with Thickets (relatively restricted but often locally prominent), and also Thickets, including Androstaychys johnsoni thickets, Mixed Deciduous Thickets, and Rocky Outcrop thickets.

Avifaunal and herpetofaunal surveys have not been completed yet, but it seems as if in both instances the species richness and numbers of animals are unexpectedly depauperate. Anthropogenic influences, such as frequent fires and other man-made disturbances, may be the reasons behind this situation.

The condition of the grazing for herbivores varies according to soil types and the local frequency of man-induced fires. In the almost total absence of grazers, the quality of the grazing deteriorated due to underutilisation, but can nevertheless be classified as between good and even excellent. The carrying capacity for herbivores has provisionally and conservatively been calculated as 1 LSU/16 ha (LSU = Large Stock Unit)

An extensive (possibly the largest in the world) wildlife re-introduction program will be launched. This program will meet with all the relevant international norms, policies, definitions and standards, including all the listed biological, sociological and legal requirements. The to-be-relocated list includes 20 species, ranging from the elephant and buffalo down to the suni and oribi. Based on the above LSU carrying capacity of 16 ha/LSU, the planned 210 000 ha wildlife-wilderness block can accommodate an impressive total of 3 125 LSU's.

The state of the conservation of the country's biodiversity resources in Mozambique is not good. Though protected areas (Coutadas included) constitute about 16% of the total area, most of the protected areas have suffered from human encroachments and the resulting decline in wildlife numbers. The country drew up a comprehensive Strategy and Action Plan for the rehabilitation and conservation of biodiversity. This Plan lists eight conservation objectives (with four relevant to Coutada 5), and nine sustainable utilisation objectives (with six being relevant to Coutada 5). In the case of Coutada 5 the realisation of these objectives are threatened by the bush meat menace (illegal hunting), human settlements, extensive wood fuel harvesting, and the illegal logging of hardwood species.

With regards to the floral component, conservation and management priorities will be aimed at identifying and managing special preservation areas, fire management, and establishing photographic monitoring points.

The conservation and management of the terrestrial fauna will centre on a comprehensive wildlife re-introduction program. This program will strive to establish and maintain viable free-ranging populations of herbivores and carnivores, which in turn will lead to the necessity of population control. Such control will include trophy hunting as the mainstay of economic use, and the removal of excess game by means of culling and live capture. In order to contain, manage and protect the expensive and scarce relocated species, the erection of a game-proof electrified fence around the planned core wildlife-wilderness area of 210 000 ha will be an imperative. The matter of ownership of the re-introduced wildlife will need to be cleared with the government. The Terrestrial Wildlife Sustainable Utilisation Plan entails three modules: firstly establishing the core wildlife-wilderness area (11 steps), secondly the establishment and utilisation of herbivores (also 11 steps) and lastly the establishment and utilisation of carnivores (a nine step procedure). The plans for the three modules provide a broad range of guidelines, with, in most instances, implementation requirements.