Central African Republic Essay

P1 Central African Republic Manova – Gounda St Floris National Park SCI 230 Axia College Jeanette Konesko December 13, 2009 P2 Manovo-Gounda St. Floris National Park is a national park and UNESCO World Heritage Site located in the Central African Republic prefecture Bamingui-Bangoran, near the Chad border. It was inscribed to the list of World Heritage Sites in 1988 as a result of the diversity of life present within it. The importance of this park derives from its wealth of flora and fauna. Its vast savannahs are home to a wide variety of species.

Notable species include black rhinoceroses, elephants, cheetahs, leopards, red-fronted gazelles, and buffalo, wild dogs, while various types of waterfowl are to be found in the northern floodplains. But it is under threat due to its rare wildlife dying and animal’s species being wiped out. People are working on breeding programs to revive the natural wildlife. (wikipedia. org) Located in the heart of the African continent, the Central African Republic (CAR) encompasses a wide array of habitats, ranging from the dry Sahelian zone in the north to the lush rainforests in the south, and supports a rich diversity of fauna and flora.

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Even though the CAR’s biodiversity is one of the least studied in Africa, an impressive number of species have already been documented. For example, approximately 700 species of birds have been recorded in the CAR. This region, located in the extreme southwest of the country, mostly comprises dense forest. Forest covers only 6 percent of the country, but that forest contains P3 3,600 plant species, 208 mammal species, and at least 350 bird species, including the recently discovered endemic Sangha Forest robin (Stiphronis sanghensis).

The Dzanga-Sangha area also features one of the highest documented densities of western lowland gorillas and forest elephants (Loxodonta africana cyclotis) in Africa. (worlwildlife. org) The interrelationship among the animals and humans is a fight. For thousands of years, the wildlife and people of Africa co-existed in balance. In the 20th century, wildlife faced escalating pressure from a growing human population and its effects, from habitat destruction to spread of disease, to over hunting. The balance was upset. In 1961, African Wildlife Leadership Foundation, Inc. as founded at the height of the African Independence movement to help newly independent African nations and people conserve their own wildlife. Since then, this organization, now called the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF), has played a major role in ensuring the continued existence of some of Africa’s most rare and treasured species, including the elephant, the mountain gorilla, the rhinoceros and the lion. (awf. org) The human intrusions threatening in the area are mainly poachers who hunt and kill the variety of species living in the Central African Republic.

For example; between 1979 and 1989, the worldwide demand for ivory caused elephant populations to decline to dangerously low levels. During this time period, pouching fueled by ivory sales cut Africa’s elephant population in half. Since they were big targets P4 and sported the largest tusks, savannah elephants took the worst hit. But as soon as these elephants began to vanish, hunters moved into the forests in search of the elephants’ smaller kin. In 1977, 1. 3 million elephants lived in Africa; by 1997, only 600,000 remained. The Wildlife Conservation Society, continue to monitor and protect elephants. PBS. org) Although the CAR is among the least developed countries of the world it has made an impressive commitment to conservation by gazetting 10. 9 percent of its territory as protected areas. A total of 15 protected areas have been gazetted (Blom and Yamindou, 2001) while an additional 1. 0 percent has been gazetted as forest reserves, mainly for sustainable production of forest resources (Blom and Yamindou, 2001). A recent assessment, however, indicates that only 32 percent of the protected areas and only 2 of the 47 gazetted forests are adequately managed. Blom and Yamindou,2001) In fact, the ministry responsible for the protected areas lacks sufficient resources to protect even one national park. Its annual budget for 1999 and 2000 was about $770,000. This figure is far below the average for sub-Saharan Africa. Even more telling is the fact that, of the 70 guards employed by the ministry, most are over the age of 50, and no new guards have been recruited in the past 15 years. These guards are responsible for covering the entire country, P5 which means there is only one guard per 100,000 km.

Even if all the guards were concentrated within the protected area, which is not the case, there would still be only one guard per 1,000 km of protected area. This level is well below the one guard per 170 km of protected area in neighboring Cameroon, which is still less than half of the recommended number of guards for that country (Culverwell, 1998). Law enforcement to control the rampant poaching in all protected areas is clearly inadequate, and poaching poses the single largest threat to biodiversity conservation (Blom and Yamindou, 2001). The only way to conserve Africa’s wildlife is to manage Africa’s wild lands.

Not small pockets of land, not even national-park-sized swaths of it, but vast landscapes that range for hundreds, even thousands, of miles. To do this, people need to get involved, be educated and be equipped to practice sustainable land management and reap economic benefits. A foundation of painstaking scientific research needs to be laid out to understand the landscape, the wildlife, the people and their complex interactions. Next build an intricate web of laws, policies and practices that bring stakeholders together from government departments to villages to safari operators so that lands are managed intelligently for the benefit of all.

This is hard work. It is long-term work. It is complicated work. But in the end, it is the only approach that will work. Efforts are made by the AWF’s members, donors and steadfast partners who make it possible. (awf. org) P6 All of Africa’s lands sustain life. But certain key landscapes are absolutely essential to conservation—thanks to their unmatched concentrations of wildlife and their potential to sustain viable populations for centuries to come. AWF has done the hard work of identifying those landscapes.

They are the AWF African Heartlands. Far larger than any park or reserve, an African Heartland combines national parks and local villages, government lands and private lands into a large, cohesive conservation landscape that often spans international borders. In an African Heartland, people and wildlife live side by side, and the needs of both are balanced. In an African Heartland, AWF works with stakeholders to design land conservation strategies, protect species through applied research and conservation efforts and empower people through training and economic development. (awf. org)

Additional measures I would implement to insure the preservation of the CAR would be to enforce strict laws even death for poachers. I’m not sure of the laws and how other countries handle their criminals but if the punishment became more serious then it could affect the choices the poachers make. If the intrusion goes unchecked, the already low rate of endangered species will in fact become instinct. We all need to be aware informed of what is really going on in these other countries and do what we can to help save our planet and the lives which live on it. P7 References: (December 13, 2009).  Retrieved from http:// http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Manovo-Gounda_St_Floris_National_Park Blom & Yamindou, A. &. J. (2001). A Brief History of Armed Conflict and its Impact on Biodiversity in the Central African Republic . Retrieved from http://www. worldwildlife. org/bsp/publications/africa/141/CAR-English. htm Blom, A. , A. Almasi, I. M. A. Heitkonig, J. -B. Kpanou, and H. H. T. Prins. 2000. A survey of the apes in the Dzanga-Ndoki National Park, Central African Republic. African Journal of Ecology. Blom, A. , and J. Yamindou. 2001. Status of the protected areas and gazetted forests of the Central African Republic.

In Ecological and economic impacts of gorilla-based tourism in Dzanga-Sangha, Central African Republic, doctoral thesis, by A. Blom, 2001. Department of Environmental Sciences, Tropical Nature Conservation and Vertebrate Ecology Group, Wageningen University, the Netherlands. Culverwell, J. 1998. Long-term recurrent costs of protected area management in Cameroon. Project report. WWF Cameroon and MINEF, Yaounde, Cameroon. n. d. retrieved from www. awf. org (n. d. ). THE POACHING PROBLEM. Retrieved from http://www. pbs. org/wnet/nature/elephants/poaching. html


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