Gorongosa National Park

Are you curious about Gorongosa National Park? Here you can find information about how it was created, the scientific and conservation work that have been developed and some curiosities.

Gorongosa National Park (GNP) is a conservation area in the heart of central Mozambique. From very early on the Gorongosa region, for its landscapes and biodiversity, attracted hunters, explorers and naturalists. It was in 1920 that a reserve of hunting was created, with about 1000 km² by the Mozambican company. In 1935 when Sr. José Henriques Coimbra was appointed administrator of the reserve, it was increased to 3200 km².

In 1960, The Gorongosa was, named National Park by the Portuguese Government. Following this changes, Gorongosa noted significant improvements such as the construction of roads and other infrastructure. Also in the late 1960s, a South African ecologist, Kenneth Tinley, conducted the first scientific studies in the Park.

Later and due to the Civil War that occurred in Mozambique (1981-1994), violence in and around the GNP increased, which resulted in the closure of the Park and that it was abandoned. This area was, during 9 years, stage of numerous battles (terrestrial and aerial) that caused that all the constructions were destroyed. Due to war and poaching, populations of large mammals (Elephants, Hippopotamuses, Buffalos, Zebras and Lions) suffered a large reduction (about 90%).

In 1994, after the war, and with the help of the African Development Bank (ADB), efforts were made to start rebuilding the infrastructure of the Park and help restore wildlife.

The Park, as we know it now, opened in 2008 with a Public-Private partnership of 20 years between the Government of Mozambique and the Carr Foundation (Gorongosa Restoration Project). The Carr Foundation is an American non-profit organization that, together with the Mozambican Ministry of Tourism, has been leading the GNP Restoration Project since 2004, creating a multidisciplinary team that works together to find solutions to the challenges Conservation and development.

GNP’s main objective is to protect and preserve the beautiful wild nature of Mozambique and as such have been working on four main areas:

 

Tourism

With the development of tourism, it is possible to create jobs for the locals and generate funds for the Park. All guests are important and contribute to the conservation of this area. There are many activities that you can do in PNG, among them the most usual is the classic Safari where you can find countless species.

In the park, there are several types of accommodation, such as:

Conservation

With efforts to protect the fauna and flora of Gorongosa, it will be possible to guarantee that in the future it will still be possible to know this magnificent area and to know unique species.

This hard work to protect and to save these species falls on the Department of Conservation Pedro Muagura, where a passionate and dedicated team works daily for the numerous existent projects and for the recovery of some species extinct in the park, through a project of reintroduction, that has been quite successful.

Every sapling we plant is a wish and a promise that this sacred mountain, a green and imposing cathedral of trees, will be here for all eternity.” – Pedro Muagura.

In addition to species reintroduction programs and research on Lions and Elephants, there is a project to avoid Man-Elephant conflict, where park inspectors prevent Elephants from approaching the machambas (plantations) of populations, thus preventing more damage and casualties (for both humans and elephants). These missions are high-risk for the prosecutors, who courageously often confront the elephants, in order to avoid confrontation.

Science

With the studies that have been developed and will be in the future of the species that constitute the park and the relations between them, it becomes simpler to draw conservation and management plans of Gorongosa.

“Gorongosa, I will say it now, is ecologically the most diverse park in the world” – E.O. Wilson

E.O. Wilson is an American biologist, born in 1929 and an expert on ants. Between 2011 and 2012 he created a special affection for Gorongosa, since he led several scientific expeditions to catalog the local biodiversity. He later created “Vida na Terra” a new digital biology book (for secondary school students) that presents, in numerous chapters, the Gorongosa National Park, and how this area is a model ecosystem and the best scenario For ecology and evolution classes. Its foundation, E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation, has partnered with the Gorongosa Restoration Project to help preserve this unique ecosystem.

Want to help with GNP research?

Even if can’t be there in person, you can take part in the conservation surveys that are done in GNP by simply joining the online citizen scientists community at WildCam Gorongosa.

Communities

With the work that has been developed between the local populations and the workers of the park it is possible to obtain better living conditions for the communities, as well as to gain their support in the management and conservation of the park.

The team of the Park is made up of more than 70 people, who work daily in order to obtain the best results of Park management and conservation of all existing species. Greg Carr and Bernardo Beca Jofrisse are part of the management committee of PNG and Mateus Mutemba is currently the Administrator of the same.

The Gorongosa National Park is known as one of the most special and beautiful places in Africa. Due to the richness of the soil and abundant rainfall, Gorongosa has a huge variety of ecosystems, and it is possible in each of them to find different species, each with its own history.

One of the most emblematic species with a particular history is the Yellow Acacia (Vachellia xanthophloea). This is a tree that grows in wetlands near waterways, where mosquitoes with diseases such as malaria proliferate. It was then common for people living in the communities present in these areas to contract malaria and to manifest symptoms of the disease such as fever. However, it was thought that these symptoms would be caused by this tree, by the use of the water present in the surroundings, and it was named Fever tree.

A member of Biodinâmica’s team had the opportunity to witness all these ecosystems and shared many of the history-filled photographs he had taken during the safaris.

Definitely an adventure to repeat!

Curiosities

  • Due to the poaching that the PNG elephants suffered for their ivory at the time of the war, the remaining individuals have very small or even missing prey.
  • Some of the elephants are more aggressive in the presence of humans due to war memory.

 

Referências:

http://www.gorongosa.org/

http://viajar.sapo.mz/descubra-o-pais/natureza-e-paisagem/historia-do-parque-nacional-da-gorongosa-png