Garamba National Park

 

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Photo by Nuria Ortega

Conservation of Garamba National Park

  • “Investment in infrastructure (roads, school and hospital) strengthen park management and supported surrounding communities.”.
  • “Aerial surveys were conducted and compared to precedent data all large mammal species increased in numbers with the exception of the elephant.”.

  • Road access to Garamba now enables the park authorities to conduct monitoring and law enforcement efforts. Tourists coming from western Uganda have access to Garamba.
  • Health care has been provided to park staff and local communities.

Garamba National Park was created in 1938, declared a World Heritage site in 1980 and included in the list of World Heritage sites in danger in 1995. Garamba has a forest-savannah mosaic and this explains why typical rainforest mammals, such as the bongo, are found there. Garamba harbours the largest elephant, hippo and giraffe population in the Democratic Republic of Congo. It is also home to chimpanzees and, until this century, also harboured the northern white rhino, which is now believed to have become extinct through poaching. For more than 50 years, this region has been affected by instability, which has resulted in a decline in most of the animal populations through poaching.

This project helped to rehabilitate the parks infrastructure. A truck was bought to facilitate the transport of construction material; bridges and roads were rehabilitated. Now tourists can access the park from the Ugandan border, provided that security allows. Law enforcement and monitoring operations benefit from a better road network.

Further investments went into the construction of a hospital. The closest hospital was 400 km away. The hospital was built and equipped and is now providing health services to park staff and local communities. The project also supported an environmental education programme, with a total of 19 schools, around 7,000 pupils and close to 300 adults.

Aerial surveys were conducted in 2012. Compared to the 2007 data, all large mammal species increased in numbers, with the exception of the elephant. More than 50 elephants were killed inside the park in about five months in 2012. As a response to the increasing poaching pressure, 80 rangers were trained and 35 of them have continued to advanced training. To receive more accurate information on animal movements, 20 elephants, 5 lions and 5 giraffes were tagged with GPS satellite transmitters.

Garamba is a very remote area in the Democratic Republic of Congo, close to the border with South Sudan, and has been suffering from attacks from the Lord’s Resistance Army for many years. Operations are difficult and dangerous. This project provided significant support to the park authorities in the most urgent areas: infrastructure, health, monitoring and law enforcement.

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