A Fallen kingdom rises again: the Gorongosa National Park lesson
Gorongosa National Park in Mozambique is among nature’s greatest wonders in terms of biodiversity and resilience. The park may be considered Africa’s most phenomenal wildlife restoration story, a real life Jurassic world. Gorongosa National Park is an area at the southern end of the Great African Rift Valley and is located in Mozambique. Its forests and savannahs are home to lions, hippos, elephants and a wide range of antelope species. The park was severely damaged by human activities and civil war in the past, but conservation efforts have been successful in restoring much of the original wildlife.
Gorongosa National park is a true reflection of the notion that whatever you give to nature, you get a hundredfold return. If you sow destructive or environmental degrading behaviour, nature will pay you back with adverse climate change and relentless natural disasters that include floods, drought, tsunamis, earthquakes and volcanos. On the other hand safe or regenerative environmental practices may be rewarded with predictable weather and fertile lands.
In 1977 a civil war broke out in Mozambique and at the brunt of this war was wildlife. Animals were poached either for trade or as a food source which led to the drastic decline of mammal populations. The park was reduced to a barren and desolate landscape that was unrecognisable from its beautiful heydays.
However, with consistent human effort, the park has since recovered and has become home to a variety of unique species. It has become a safe haven for the animals that inhabit it, and a place where people can come to observe and enjoy the wildlife. The park is now a popular tourist destination for those who want to experience the beauty of Africa’s wildlife.\
Despite the yesteryear turmoil, Gorongosa National Park has, almost miraculously, regained its strength and become a symbol of hope for the wildlife and people of Mozambique. The park has implemented a wide variety of conservation initiatives, including anti-poaching patrols, education programmes, and a successful programme of restocking wildlife. These initiatives have succeeded in significantly reducing illegal poaching and restoring the park’s biodiversity. As a result, Gorongosa National Park has become a model for wildlife conservation in Africa.
Gregory C. Carr an American entrepreneur and philanthropist was majorly involved in the restoration of Mozambique’s Gorongosa National Park, which had been ravaged by the Mozambican Civil War and environmental destruction. The 2020 documentary ‘The Age of Nature: Awakening’ captured Gregg Carr’s words about his perception of the park in post-war Mozambique: “I didn’t see any birds in the park and then it dawned on me that the entire ecosystem had collapsed. By taking out the larger animals, it affected the entire ecosystem because animals depend on each other.”
The documentary highlighted the need for greater conservation efforts to protect the remaining wildlife. It showed the park as a model for the whole world in the restoration of picturesque landscapes that have become an eyesore due to human activity. It emphasised the importance of protecting all parts of an ecosystem, not just the animals we see as valuable. It was a powerful reminder that we must take responsibility for the effects of our actions on the environment.
We need to be mindful of the consequences of our actions and strive to protect the environment and its inhabitants for future generations. Taking steps towards sustainable practices now will ensure that ecosystems remain balanced and endangered species such as rhinos, wild dogs and pangolins are preserved for the next generation. Before conservation efforts in the Gorongosa National Park, human activity and the civil war severely damaged wildlife in the park. In the aftermath of the civil war, hunger significantly worsened illegal poaching on wildlife. It is estimated that 90 percent of mammals were killed for food. To restore the park and its ecosystem, the park introduced a variety of animals, including buffalo, Blue wildebeest, antelope species, elephants, and hippos, as well as promoting lion populations that had been affected by the war. Mammals such as elephants help open up the forest and germinate the next generation of trees. About 18 years later the importance of each animal’s existence in their natural ecosystem has been made evident. This project serves as an example of nature conservation, highlighting how integral each species is to their surrounding environment. By reintroducing a variety of animals, the park restored the balance of the ecosystem and helped to ensure the survival of many species.
An estimated 27 000 illegal poaching traps in the Gorongosa National park were removed. This has resulted in a dramatic increase in the number of animals, including antelopes, elephants, and lions. A study conducted in 2020 showed that the number of animals had increased by more than 50 percent. The removal of the traps has also had a positive impact on the local environment, an aerial survey revealed that animals in the Gorongosa National park have risen tenfold. This has led to an increase in biodiversity and an improvement in the overall health of the ecosystem. The removal of the traps is a prime example of how humans can positively impact nature and help restore balance to an ecosystem.
This highlights the importance of human intervention and the potential to reverse the effects of environmental destruction. Conservation efforts can help to restore natural habitats and provide a safe haven for wildlife. By protecting the environment, we can ensure that future generations will be able to enjoy the beauty of nature and lead eco-healthy lifestyles.
Additional insights for this article were gleaned from the videos below: