The future of globally important wildlife – including endangered chimpanzees and pangolins – looks a little brighter after over 17,000 hectares of severely threatened forest habitat in an ecologically unique region of South Sudan were granted formal protection.
The regazettement of Bangangai Game Reserve will ensure that this unhailed haven of biodiversity is brought under more effective management at what is a crucial juncture for the country’s impressive but imperilled natural wonders.
A decade has elapsed since Fauna & Flora International (FFI) accepted an invitation to help kick-start conservation in the newly declared Republic of South Sudan. Given our proven track record of operating in crisis and conflict zones, we were never likely to decline such an opportunity.
FFI has been a constant presence in South Sudan since 2011. Focusing our efforts on the comparatively stable region of Western Equatoria, we have been working closely with communities, government officials and Wildlife Service staff to address priorities such as training, provision of equipment and the development of basic infrastructure, which in turn has laid the foundations for a programme of biological monitoring and protected area management.
Half a century of political turbulence has devastated lives, livelihoods and wildlife across much of what is now South Sudan, but large swathes of ‘protected’ forest – and the wealth of species they harbour – have escaped much of the damage inflicted by the long years of conflict.