Shaba Hills and Buffalo Springs, Kenya: As reported on last month, there has been some local resistance to the Isiolo County Government’s efforts to conclude a management agreement with African Parks, politically motivated from the opposition of the ruling government which at least now is in the open and being publicly discussed. Positively, the Isiolo Government has concluded their community sensitisation and stakeholder engagement processes in order to secure the needed buy-in, and we are now awaiting formal feedback, which has so far been favourable.
Ennedi, Chad: Just six camera traps that were deployed last month to identify species in the area captured some astounding images of Ennedi’s wildlife: Barbary sheep, Dorca gazelle, Patas monkey, Olive baboon, Ruppel’s fox, a Golden jackal and several bird species. We are just beginning to analyse these photographs, and expect to capture even a greater variety of species in the weeks ahead.
Bazaruto Archipelago Marine National Park, Mozambique: Peter Fearnhead and APN board member Ted Woods concluded a due diligence site visit to Bazaruto over the period 23rd to 26th August, and feedback is being submitted to the APN Board in the form of a detailed report. Despite several challenges, most notably the rampant illegal fishing in the area, bringing Bazaruto under management is extremely compelling and would contribute an important and new dimension as our first marine reserve to the African Parks portfolio. Commitments are being discussed with several donors, and we look forward to concluding the agreement with ANAC (the National Administration for Conservation Agency) shortly. Bazaruto is a stunning and diverse seascape with over 2,000 fish species, notable megafauna including whale sharks, dolphins, manta rays and whales; and has the only viable population of dugong (estimated to consist of 260 individuals) in the western Indian Ocean.
Gambella, Ethiopia: Unfortunately August continued to be another frustrating month where due to governmental administrative blockages, most activities were delayed. The coming months will be critical in determining whether African Parks plays a role in Gambella. We are happy to report however, that a working document has been produced for the proposed network of Protected Areas and will be discussed with the partners in September. In terms of the socio-economic and ecological baseline studies, the Community Team began producing a preliminary report compiling the results of the focal group discussions carried out so far for 2016. The first draft of the report on the animal movements for the period May 2015 to April 2016 has been finalized and the final report will be ready by the end of September; and our financial team began the preparation for the EU external audit scheduled to take place over October and November.