Giraffes in Badingilo National Park, South Sudan © African Parks
On 25 August, 2022, the Government of the Republic of South Sudan and conservation organisation African Parks announced the signing of a ten-year renewable management agreement for Boma and Badingilo National Parks, including the wildlife corridors and proposed extension zones in the broader landscape – an area which is well over three million hectares. This commitment by the South Sudanese Government is an important step in the long-term protection of these vital ecosystems and securing lasting benefits for people and wildlife – while ensuring the sustainable management of the largest migration of large mammals in Africa, outside of the Serengeti.
“In signing this Memorandum of Understanding with African Parks, South Sudan has found an experienced partner for South Sudan Wildlife, Parks and Tourism and we look forward to realising the full potential of Boma and Badingilo National Parks and our treasured wildlife migrations and heritage,” said the Minister of Wildlife Conservation and Tourism, His Excellency Rizik Zakaria Hassan.
“We have a long-term vision of using a business approach to ensure that Government and African Parks are accountable for the transparent management and conservation of these landscapes. African Parks will work closely with indigenous communities to assure sustainable socio-economic development and build up the tourism infrastructure to unlock the full potential for these globally significant areas. This is only the start of our relationship, and we look forward to expanding this partnership in the future”.
The Ministry of Wildlife Conservation and Tourism facilitates and promotes the protection of biodiversity, natural ecosystems and wildlife, and ensures sustainable tourism that benefits social and economic welfare of South Sudan. The Ministry is mandated to enter into agreements with other organisations to promote and support the execution of their mandate and ensure the long-term sustainability of its natural assets to fully unlock the ecological, financial and social value of these area for the benefit of the people and wildlife of South Sudan.
Badingilo National Park, South Sudan © African Parks
Located east of the Nile River, in the vast floodplains of South Sudan, Boma and Badingilo National Parks, and the surrounding migration corridors are home to an estimated one million antelope, including the White-eared Kob, which is one of the greatest features of this landscape. This is complemented by large migrating populations of Tiang (Topi) which number over 100,000 animals, Reedbuck and the Mongalla Gazelle that number in the tens of thousands, as well as a rich variety of other species, including elephant, Nubian giraffe, lion, eland, oryx and ostrich.
Together the Ministry of Wildlife Conservation and Tourism and African Parks will work in partnership over the long-term to secure the sustainability of both parks and the migration corridors by upholding the rule of law, stimulating local enterprise, and optimising the exceptional potential for conservation-based tourism.
Founded in 2000, African Parks takes on the complete responsibility for the rehabilitation and long-term management of national parks in partnership with governments and communities to protect wildlife and restore landscapes. Under African Parks’ mandate, five key pillars are implemented to achieve long-term protected area sustainability. These include biodiversity conservation to restore the landscapes to their full ecological state, community development through education, engagement and stimulating local enterprise, law enforcement to ensure that local laws are upheld, tourism and enterprise to optimise the exceptional potential of the area, and implementing the management and infrastructure development necessary for the accomplishment of the other pillars.
“We are exceptionally proud to be working in partnership with the Government of South Sudan to manage these valuable national assets. We congratulate Government’s leadership in acting to protect these national resources which are the lifeblood of the White Nile system and provide sustenance and livelihoods for millions of people. Boma and Badingilo National Parks are critical landscapes which can lead to transformational outcomes for the people of South Sudan, and the broader region,” said Peter Fearnhead, CEO of African Parks.
African Parks is a non-profit conservation organisation that takes on the complete responsibility for the rehabilitation and long-term management of national parks in partnership with governments and local communities. African Parks manages 20 national parks and protected areas in 12 countries covering over 17 million hectares in Angola, Benin, Central African Republic, Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Republic of Congo, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. For more information visit www.africanparks.org, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
With the addition of Boma and Badingilo National Parks, African Parks will manage 22 protected areas in partnership with 12 African governments. This brings the organisation closer to its vision of managing 30 protected areas by 2030, across 11 biomes, encompassing 30 million hectares of globally significant, wild landscapes across the continent.
This partnership is made possible by the Ministry of Wildlife Conservation and Tourism (MWCT) through the South Sudan Wildlife Service (SSWS), the legal authority responsible for management of wildlife and protected areas in South Sudan.
This important initiative is being made possible by The Wyss Foundation and the generous support of various philanthropic funders.
The Minister of Wildlife Conservation and Tourism, His Excellency, Rizik Zakaria Hassan, with Major General Peter Loro Alberto and Mr Peter Fearnhead, CEO of African Parks African Parks © African Parks
Boma National Park, South Sudan © African Parks
Dr John Ledger is a past Director of the Endangered Wildlife Trust, now a consultant, writer and teacher on the environment, energy and wildlife; he is a columnist for the African Hunting Gazette. He lives in Johannesburg, South Africa. John.Ledger@wol.co.za