African Parks’ vision is to have 20 parks under management by 2020. With 11 parks under current management, extensive efforts are being made to grow our portfolio and bring in new parks. When considering a park for inclusion into the African Parks portfolio, we follow three broad criteria that include ecological, socio-political and financial aspects, with the ultimate goal of receiving the mandate for delegated management authority from the Government.
Ennedi, The Republic of Chad
Park size: 40,000 km2
A Memorandum of Understanding was signed with the Chadian Government in 2015, at the request of the President, to investigate the viability of establishing Ennedi as a new wildlife and cultural protected area. In February, African Parks signed a 20-month agreement with the Chadian Government to develop a management proposal for Ennedi, which will be completed in March 2017. We confirmed that Barbary sheep, Dorca gazelle, Patas monkey and olive baboon were still present in the area; camera trapping determined the presence of Ruppel’s fox, a golden jackal and several bird species. Fifty-two new rock art sites were discovered, five of which were deemed to be of great significance, adding to a total of 210 recorded sites. In July, Ennedi was announced as one of UNESCO’s 21 newly prescribed World Heritage Sites, a status given to places of outstanding value. Community meetings, held on sensitising local communities to the management plan, were met with enthusiasm. The meeting culminated in a letter signed by the traditional leader’s (Chef de Canton) representative, supporting the creation of Ennedi as a protected area.
Bazaruto Archipelago Marine National Park, Mozambique
Park size: 1,430 km2
African Parks began exploring the potential of assuming management of Bazaruto in 2015. In 2016, we began negotiations with the National Administration of Conservation Areas (ANAC), hired a Project Manager, produced business and infrastructure plans and conducted a successful Board due diligence site visit. Bazaruto was established in 1971 as Mozambique’s first marine protected area. A diverse seascape, it is home to more than 2,000 fish species and notable megafauna including whale sharks, dolphins, manta rays and whales. It also has the only viable population of dugong in the western Indian ocean of approximately 260 individuals. Approximately 5,800 people live on the islands in the archipelago, 80 percent of whom rely on harvesting marine resources as their primary livelihood, putting tremendous pressure on this seascape. Urgent action is needed to reverse this downward trajectory and to elevate the reserve as one of Africa’s greatest marine sanctuaries. As of December, the final draft agreement was under review by ANAC. Subject to their approval this agreement will conclude in 2017 and will bring Bazaruto under management, contributing an important and new dimension to the African Parks portfolio.
Shaba National Reserve and Buffalo Springs National Reserve, Kenya
Park size: 370 km2
African Parks to assess the potential of assuming management of Shaba and Buffalo Springs National Reserves in Kenya. In 2016, we continued this assessment and negotiations with Kenyan authorities to secure a mandate to manage these two iconic wildlife reserves in partnership with the Isiolo County Government (ICG). These areas are comprised of rich volcanic soils with resident populations of elephant, endangered Grevy’s zebra, rare reticulated giraffe, lion, leopard, cheetah and hyaena. In February, Governor H. E. Godana Doyo and the County Speaker Honourable Muhamed Tupi from ICG visited Majete in Malawi to see the African Parks model and solidify their view of us as a credible partner in conservation management. While Governor Doyo worked with ICG to secure approval from the County Assembly and Cabinet, African Parks was asked to submit an Expression of Interest through a public call for proposals which was submitted in June. A sub-grant from USAID through NRT was also approved for US$460,117 over a four-year period. There was local resistance to ICG efforts to conclude an agreement with African Parks, which was largely politically motivated by the opposition, but comprehensive stakeholder engagement was conducted with good effect and in September we were informed that the ICG were ready to conclude the agreement. However, discussions and a site visit were postponed to 2017, at which time a signed agreement should be reached.