Garamba National Park, Congo

Garamba (National Park)

The Garamba National Park (Parc national de la Garamba ) is located in the northeastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo, one of the oldest national parks in Africa. The area of the park is 4,480 sq km.

First of all, the national park is famous for being home to a rare subspecies of white rhinoceros – the northern white rhinoceros. [1]

Geography of the park

The north of the conservation area is dominated by wet savannas and tall grass meadows. As you move south, they are interspersed with sparse forests, gradually changing to massifs of gallery forests. The southern half of the park is predominantly occupied by rainforests. [1]

History

The national park was founded in 1938. In 1960 there were about 1,000 northern white rhinos. However, by 1980, after a twenty-year war in the Congo, their numbers had dwindled to 12. [1]

In 1980, Garamba was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. [2] Four years later, the national park was added to the list of World Heritage Sites in danger of extinction. This led the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the World Wildlife Fund and the Frankfurt Zoological Society to initiate a program of rehabilitation of the park in cooperation with the Zairean government. Positive results led to Garamba being removed from the list of endangered sites in 1992.

In 1996, however, the park was put back on the list, following an increase in killings of wild animals by the military. But this measure may prove ineffective in the face of the greatest threat of extinction of the northern white rhinoceros, whose numbers continue to dwindle. In 2005, researchers recorded only four individuals of this animal in the protected area. [3]

Notes

  1. ↑ 1 2 3 Garamba National Park on the Red List website.
  2. ↑ Garamba National Park on the World Heritage Site.
  3. ↑ Smith, Lewis . Poachers kill last four Northern White Rhinos, The Times (17.06.2008).
  • National Parks of the Democratic Republic of Congo
  • World Heritage in the Democratic Republic of Congo
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Garamba National Park, Congo

The park, consisting of vast savannahs, grassy or wooded, interspersed with gallery forests along rivers and swampy hollows, is home to four of the largest mammals: the elephant, giraffe, hippo and, above all, the white rhino, harmless and much larger than the black rhino, of which only about thirty individuals remain.

Garamba National Park, Congo - Photo 2

Garamba National Park, Congo

Garamba National Park is located in the northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in the transition zone between the dense tropical forests of the Congo Basin and the Guinea-Sudan savannah. It consists of vast grassy or wooded savannahs interspersed with gallery forests and swampy hollows . It is home to the world’s last population of northern white rhinoceros, an endemic subspecies of Congolese giraffe and an elephant population that is a mixture of forest elephants, savannah elephants and individuals with morphological characteristics common to both subspecies. It is also characterized by an exceptionally high biomass of large herbivores due to the vegetative productivity of the environment. Covering 490,000 hectares and surrounded by 752,700 hectares of three hunting grounds that contribute to the effective protection of the property from threats from the surrounding area, this property is an exceptional sanctuary due to its unusual combination of impressive large fauna.

Garamba National Park, Congo - Photo 3

Garamba National Park, Congo

Garamba National Park and the surrounding hunting grounds are a vast expanse with a dense network of small, permanent springs that support exceptionally high plant productivity and herbivore biomass. This biomass is reflected, for example, in the presence of large concentrations of elephants at certain times of the year, sometimes in herds of more than 500 individuals, which is an exceptional natural phenomenon.

Garamba National Park is home to four of the world’s largest land mammals: the elephant, rhinoceros, giraffe and hippo. The northern population of the white rhinoceros is the last remaining population of this subspecies. In addition, the subspecies of the Congolese giraffe is also endemic to the park.

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Garamba National Park, Congo - Photo 4

Garamba National Park, Congo

Located in the transition zone between the Guinean-Congolese and Guinean-Sudanese centers of endemism, the park and its surrounding hunting grounds represent a particularly interesting biodiversity with species typical of both biogeographic zones. In addition to the rhinoceros and giraffe, pure savanna species include the lion, the spotted hyena and numerous species of antelope.

In addition, typical dense forest species include chimpanzees and five species of small daytime primates. The park is also one of the few places in Africa where both the forest elephant Loxodonta africana cyclotis and the savanna elephant Loxodonta africana africana are found, as well as elephants with morphological characteristics common to both subspecies. A very large population of African buffalo also exhibits intermediate forms between the forest buffalo and the savanna buffalo.

Garamba National Park, Congo - Photo 5

Garamba National Park, Congo

Integrity

Garamba National Park is bounded on the east, south, and west by large rivers, which are clear and well-known natural boundaries . To the north it borders the Lantoto National Park in South Sudan , offering interesting opportunities for cross-border and regional protection. No human presence or settlement was recorded in the pristine landscape of the park at the time of its listing, and the population on the periphery was small.

Garamba National Park, Congo - Photo 6

Integrity

Garamba National Park is surrounded by three large contiguous hunting grounds, representing an ecosystem of sufficient size (1,242,700 ha) to support significant populations of large mammals with their local seasonal migrations. The hunting grounds contribute to the effective protection of the property from threats from the surrounding area. Their value is enormous, especially for the seasonal movements of elephants and maintaining viable populations of forest species.

Garamba National Park, Congo - Photo 7

Integrity

Necessary elements of protection and management

Garamba National Park has had national park status since 1938, and the governing body is the Congolese Institute for the Conservation of Nature (ICNC). It is managed through the three administrative sectors of Nagero, Gangala-on-Bodio, and Beredwa on the northern border, each with its own buildings and road infrastructure. The creation of a management plan is a prerequisite for the management of the park. Given the importance of the hunting grounds to the integrity of the area, their management must be integrated with the management of the park.

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Garamba National Park, Congo - Photo 8

Necessary elements of protection and management

It is important that the integration of local communities into the management of the park and peripheral hunting grounds through a community-based approach to conservation is accomplished through participatory management of natural resources.

Surveillance is carried out by gamekeepers through patrols in the three hunting areas as well as within the park, combined with regular viewing of all of these areas. The tourism aspect has been developed and an elephant tourism opportunity unique to Africa has emerged; this activity can be resumed when the security situation becomes more stable.

Garamba National Park, Congo - Photo 9

Partnerships with international organizations and the search for sufficient funds for effective conservation of the site should also be strengthened, including, ideally, through the creation of a trust fund.

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