News and Notes

How one of Africa’s great parks is rebounding from war

Mozambique, Africa — National Geographic Magazine has published a major article about Gorongosa National Park. The article, “How one of Africa’s great parks is rebounding from war,” published in the May issue, celebrates the successful restoration of the Park and highlights the Park’s human development programs in the local communities.

The author, David Quammen, is considered to be one of the best science and nature writers in the world. To illustrate his article, National Geographic included 11 stunning photographs by legendary photographer, Charlie Hamilton James.

Quammen and James spent several weeks in Gorongosa in 2018 for the assignment and focused on the integrated conservation and development approach of Gorongosa National Park and the Gorongosa Project. Quammen writes, “For elephants and hippos and lions to thrive inside a park boundary, you need to ensure that the humans who live outside the boundary thrive too.” They documented such activities as the Park’s after-school “Girls’ Clubs” (created to help retain vulnerable girls in school) and the rainforest coffee project on Mount Gorongosa, created to reverse deforestation and improve the livelihoods of local farmers. (The coffee will go on sale this year.) Quammen writes, “Wildlife in Gorongosa National Park, decimated by years of civil war, is rebounding. The animals’ future depends on providing hope for the people who live nearby.”

Gorongosa National Park is evolving towards the guiding vision of “a human rights park”, serving nature and people, overseen by Mozambicans, shared with the world.”

Quammen also highlights the new generation of Mozambican conservationists and scientists getting training and forging their careers in Gorongosa. “The Park’s scientists and managers are multinational but more and more Mozambicans are filling leadership roles, like Dominique Gonçalves, a young Mozambican ecologist and National Geographic fellow, who runs Gorongosa’s elephants program (watch Gonçalves speak about Gorongosa at Half-Earth Day 2017). The place is evolving towards the guiding vision of “a human rights park”, serving nature and people, overseen by Mozambicans, shared with the world.”

The article also talks about the vision of the “Greater Gorongosa” ecosystem, connecting the Park to the Indian Ocean: “…all of it protected or sustainably managed, encompassing successful farmers and other local enterprises – connecting Mount Gorongosa in the west, the park in the southern Rift Valley, large blocks of hardwood forest on the Cheringoma Plateau just east of the valley, and the unique coastal woodlands and swamps on the south side of the Zambezi River Delta.” He quotes Greg Carr, Oversight Committee of the Gorongosa Project (and E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation Board Member), as saying: “Difficult but doable… Put it together, and you’ve got something extraordinary.”

National Geographic also produced a short film to supplement the article, which is available to view with the online article. People who see the video or read the article who wish to visit Gorongosa can do so when tourism resumes on May 1, 2019.

The article is the first in a series of articles documenting the National Geographic Society’s “Last Wild Places” Initiative. The Gorongosa Project is a founding partner in the program, a decade-long initiative to protect the natural wonders that sustain life on Earth.

For more general information about Last Wild Places, visit:
https://www.nationalgeographic.org/projects/last-wild-places/

About the Gorongosa Project
Gorongosa National Park (GNP) in Mozambique is perhaps Africa’s greatest wildlife restoration story. In 2008 a 20-year Public-Private Partnership was established for the joint management of GNP between the Government of Mozambique and the Carr Foundation (Gorongosa Project), a US nonprofit organization. In 2018 the Government of Mozambique approved the extension for another 25 years of joint management. By adopting a 21st Century conservation model of balancing the needs of wildlife and people, Gorongosa is protecting and saving this beautiful wilderness, returning it to its rightful place as one of Africa’s greatest national parks.

If you would like to receive more information about us–or schedule an interview with someone involved in the program–please contact Vasco Galante by phone (+258 82 297 0010 – WhatsApp) or email (vasco@gorongosa.net).

E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Laboratory at Gorongosa National Park from EOWilson Biodiversity Foundation.

More about Gorongosa.