The protected area in the border area to Chad has three vegetation zones with an area of 17 400 km². It is known for its unique flora and fauna. The savannahs are home to a large number of animal species, including the black rhinoceros, elephants, leopards, lions, hippos, gazelles and water buffalo. However, the protected area has been on the Red List since 1997, as almost 80% of the game population has been destroyed by poachers.
Manovo-Gounda St. Floris: Facts
|Official title:||Manovo-Gounda St. Floris National Park|
|Natural monument:||since 1979 with an area of 17 400 km² national park; Floodplains of the Bahr Aouk and the Bahr Kameur in the north and the Bongo massif in the south and a lowland between the two areas; the Vakaga, Goro, Gounda, Koumbala and Manovo flow from the massif|
|Country:||Central African Republic, Bamingui-Bangoran Province|
|Location:||in the north of the country, on the border with Chad, western border of the park determined by the river Manovo, northeast of Ndélé|
|Appointment:||1988; since 1997 on the red list of endangered Eelheritage|
|Meaning:||important habitat for flora and fauna in the Sudan-Guinea zone|
|Flora and fauna:||Forest savannah of the so-called Sudan-Guinea-Zone with shibutter tree, the tree species Khaya senegalensis, Isoberlinia doka and Terminalia laxiflora, which belong to the African mahogany; Occurrence of mammals such as 2000 to 3000 elephants, leopards, cheetahs, wild dogs, giraffes, red-fronted gazelles, black rhinoceros, waterbuck, white rams, lyre- and hartebeest, hippopotamus, Sudan hyrax, green baboon, galago; 320 species of birds such as jugglers and shoebills, seasonally also pink pelican and African marabu; Reptiles like Nile crocodile|
The silence of the savannah
Dusk is usually the hour for robbers in all of Africa. According to campingship.com, lions and leopards cautiously stalk gazelles and antelopes through the dense, tall elephant grass. African buffalo leave the undergrowth to approach the watering holes. The largest savannah reserve in central and western Africa, on the other hand, welcomes its visitors at this time of day with an oppressive silence, apart from the grunting of the hippos, which weigh several tons, as they make their way to the gallery forest at dusk. You will also wait in vain for the monkey screams, the roar of lions and the “piercing laughter” of the hyenas in the savannahs of East Africa. And not large mammals, but only the evening wind occasionally trembles the sea of man-high savanna grass.
There are hardly any wild animals left in this area, which was created in 1974 by the expansion of the Matoumara National Park and was officially designated as a “protected area”. Unrestrained poaching has reduced animal populations by around 80 percent. Thanks to automatic weapons and helicopters, far superior to the poorly equipped park rangers, invaders from the civil war countries of Sudan and Chad slaughtered a good 75 percent of the herds of elephants estimated at 80,000 animals between 1981 and 1984. No wonder, then, that this national park is now on the “Red List” of World Heritage in Danger: at the same time an urgent appeal to the international community to urgently take care of its rescue, especially since in 1997 four park employees were shot.
As a link in the geographical sequence of the pan-African savannah areas from east to west, this Central African national park has large dry forest areas in addition to its wetlands. Although his gallery forests have also been cleared since the last century, their expansion is still considerable. In the center of the national park, the flat savannah changes into a gently undulating landscape with bush vegetation. A huge moat wall cuts off the plain from the south. There the rugged Bongo sandstone massif towers, in which the headwaters of the five largest rivers of the national park are located.
The abundance of different habitats is the basis for a biodiversity that puts all comparable African savanna protection areas in the shade. Botanists counted around 1200 species of plants and more than 50 species of mammals. About 320 species of birds have been registered in the floodplains of the northern part, which serves as a retreat for river and water birds. The considerable biodiversity is, however, due to the now heavily curbed poaching, contrasted with a low density of the respective populations.
In order to allow the wild animal population to rest, the agricultural use of the park would first have to be ended. Because during the dry season, cattle herders from South Sudan and Chad still move with their herds to the natural pastures and use campfires to conjure up the danger of wild fires.
With 27 million US dollars from the European Union, not only have the remaining wild animals been counted, their distribution in the different habitats determined and the exact course of the park boundaries defined, but concepts for the tourist use and accessibility of the national park have also been planned. The Central African Republic has taken these ideas in the direction of safari tourism. However, as long as the national park cannot be effectively protected by better staffing with game rangers and appropriate visitor accommodation is lacking, gentle tourism remains a pipe dream.