Central African Republic (Manovo-Gounda St Floris National Park)
The Manovo-Gounda St. Floris National Park was one of the most significant, cultural and astonishingly beautiful parks in Central Africa. This national park occupies most of the eastern end of the Bamingui-Bangoran province in the north of the Central African Republic on the international border with Chad. Although much of Central Africa is forgotten by most of the world and even its own government, however; nature was gracious in giving her gift of nature to its occupants in the surrounding area. According to the ???United Nations Environment Programme???, the Part of the park originally designated as Oubangui-Chari National Park was renamed Matoumara National Park in 1935. In 1940, the park was renamed again as St. Floris National Park. In 1960, St. Floris National Park enlarged to 100,700 habitats and to 277,600 habitats in 1974. 1979: Manovo-Gounda St. Floris National Park designated, including St. Floris National Park and the former Safarafric hunting/tourism concession. However, in 1997, the park was listed as an endangered World Heritage site because of lack of security and very heavy poaching.
Manovo-Gounda St. Floris Park stretch 6718 square miles and is sectioned into three district zones. One is the grassy floodplains of the Bahr Aouk and Bahr Kameur rivers in the north, second; transitional plain of bushy or wooded savannah and the Massif des Bongo in the south. The plain has coarse, well-drained, generally ferruginous and relatively infertile soils. Particularly if there are depressions in the area. Manovo-Gounda park is enriched with so much beautiful wildlife and grassy plains. This park is known as the largest savannah park in the west and central Africa. The importance of Manovo-Gounda is the various habitats surrounding the area including riverside swaps and seasonally flooded flat valleys. Wildlife is also ramped in the area, especially ungulate herds (which can be a giraffe, goat, or a horse). Black rhinoceros, cheetah, wild dog, red-fronted gazelle, and buffalo occupy the grassy plains. While deep high-banked valleys are where monkeys and birds take up residency. The rocky areas are home to the baboons and the baboon groves by shyer ungulates. Collectively, there are 57 known species of mammal in Manovo-Gounda Park; however; there are some threatening species such as the black rhinoceros and the African forest elephant, thus causing a reduction of leopards, crocodiles, lions and hyenas. Various birds such as the African fish eagle, marabou stork and pelicans have also been spotted in the area. On the plains, ostrich are common, moving to woodland to lay their eggs. Several species of bee-eater and kingfisher are present along the rivers. The interrelationship between the wildlife and Manovo-Gounda St Floris National Park is first the plants such as grasses, trees, and shrubs. The second tier of the food chain will be plant eaters, e.g. turtles, elephants, buffaloes, deer, etc; and insect eaters. The bottom tier of the food chain will also include insects. Finally, the predators include tigers and leopards.
The climate of Manovo-Gounda Park is tropical humid atmosphere with heavy annual rainfall between 950 and 1700mm and this rainfall is mainly in the months of June and November, however, the rainfall is higher in the upland areas. During December thru May the temperature is not hot, however extremely dry and the grass fires are more common in the later winter and the temperature is higher in the northern flood plain than on the plateau.
Manovo-Gounda park??™s vegetation consist of perennial grass communities and sandy grassland sedges and annual forbs covering the most heavily flooded areas and the seasonally flooded flat river valleys where the trees and shrubs are confined to patches of higher ground and have to be both flood and fire resistant. One of the most significant thing about the vegetation in the areas are the predominant grassland species including Vossia cuspidata, Echinochloa stagnina, Jardinea congoensis, Setaria anaceps, Hyparrhenia rufa, and Eragrostis and the quantity and quality of production depend on duration and depth of seasonal flooding. There are also other forms of vegetation such as Pseudocedrela kotschyi and Terminalia macroptera which in soil of varying depths over ironstone.
In spite of the natural beauty and its various habitats occupying the surroundingareas of the park, Humans definitely pose a threat to the areas. One of the main reasons for endangerment and extinction is the professional poaching of large mammals, particularly rhinoceros and elephants. Human threats have come to a point where uncontrolled poaching reached emergency levels with hunters setting up camp and transporting ???bush meat??? out by camel train. The park??™s areas were once governed by some form of security for protection, however; in 1997, four park staff was killed and there were no effective anti-poaching force. As a result of the shootings, tourist and volunteers were called to a halt in the area. Manovo-Gounda St. Floris Park became an isolated area and wild life was left to defend their own against harm. According to the UNESCO ???In 1998, 80% of the parks wildlife had been harvested by poachers. The elephant population decreased by 75% between 1981 and 1984, and as few as ten black rhinoceros remained by 1988.??? Others factors for endangerment are fire (most often caused by gazers, hunters, and poachers). Cattle move from the Nyla region of Sudan and from Chad which interfere with wildlife causing disease. As a result of the human threats damage has compromise the grassland causing the species and mammal to fall prey to the gazers and hunters.
Plans for ongoing rehabilitation of Manovo-Gounda St. Floris Park are that the government of the Central African Republic has proposed to assign site management responsibility to a private Foundation. The preparation of a detailed state of conservation report and rehabilitation plan for the site has been recommended by the World Heritage Committee at its 1998 session.
Nature reserves are created ???for the purpose of preserving biological diversity, protecting and preserving valuable natural environments. Similar to humans reserving the right to protect their prize possessions and protecting these things at all cost, any national park and reservation with living habitat must be protected as well. The first thing that must happen in order of protecting Manovo-Gounda park is to eliminate eliminate or mitigate harmful practices that degrade park ecosystems such as hunting and gazing of the mammals, thus eliminating over populated sections of the park, causing mixture of mammals that can potentially increase the spread of disease amongst the other mammals (causing possible extinction). Iimplement smart-growth development policies in national park gateway communities and within broader park ecosystems to fight sprawl, conserve open space, and protect natural values and wildlife. A Biodiversity Action Plan for all appropriate park units is another definite plan of protection for wildlife. Keep air quality in good standing is another major recourse to protecting the park. Wildlife sanctuaries are ways to protect the wildlife by prohibiting access to an area during certain months of the year. Recycling and keeping the grounds clean and safe not only for the tourist but most important, for the habitat and the grasslands of the area. Although past history of the park yielded isolation, endangerment, and a few casualties; Manovo-Gounda St. Floris National Park has shown improvement and growth in the wildlife and grassland areas. The Current area of the park is 1,740,000ha and 4.2 million acres that shows for a high increase in population of mammals, various birds, and other living habitats adapting to changed environment.
What people need to realize is that we live in an indispensable environment full of life and purpose. All the grasslands, birds, mammals, wildlife, and waterfronts are gifts to humans for enjoyment and appreciation. When the actions of human threats take over and destroy our national parks causing endangerment and possible extinction; we as humans have become selfish and unappreciative of the habitat and natural dwellings that share our existence here on earth. We are always looking for ways to enrich the world we live in to its fullest (sustainability), however; in the process of enrichment, we intentionally or unintentionally kill off our natural resources. Sustainability requires maintaining fully functioning ecological systems, because we cannot sustain human civilization without sustaining the natural systems that nourish it. We must take ruining our ecological systems serious because once our natural resources are diminished; our earth will become a waist land.
Manovo-Gounda St. Floris National Park World Heritage Site, Accessed August 9, 2010
Barber, K., Buchanan, S. & Galbreath, P. (1980). An Ecological Survey of the St Floris National Park, Central African Republic. IPAD, US National Parks Service, Washington.
Birdlife International (2004). IBAs in the Central African Republic. Cambridge, UK.