Maputo — Gorongosa National Park in the central Mozambican province of Sofala is reported to be showing signs of recovery. The park is widely regarded as the jewel in Mozambique’s conservation crown, but was severely hit during the war of destabilisation.
Since 2005 a restoration programme has been underway at the park, and a team of scientists led by E.O Wilson has reported that there are positive signs.
A secretary bird has recently been spotted in the park for the first time in many years. These birds were relatively easy for hungry soldiers to catch during the war of destabilisation, which devastated the park until the war’s end in 1992.
According to a report by E.O Wilson’s team, “we have seen plenty of snakes, lizards and grasshoppers that should be supplying food for this specimen and relatives who may be on the way. This is an excellent sign that life is returning to Gorongosa”.
The report also said that one of the three cheetahs reintroduced into the park in July last year was spotted on Saturday and is “clearly healthy and presently well fed”.
It also pointed out that on Sunday there was a census in the “sanctuary”, an area protected from predators and poachers. The census found 372 Blue wildebeest, 193 Cape buffalo, 68 Sable antelope, 364 Common reedbuck, 112 Impala, 38 Waterbuck, 9 Lichtenstein’s hartebeest, 140 Kudu, 482 Warthog, 116 Oribi, 8 Nyala, 58 Bushbuck, 11 Grey duiker and 4 Red duiker.
Gorongosa National Park is located at the southern end of the Great African Rift Valley, and specialists claim that it has 54 separate ecosystems. It is planned that by 2015 the park will receive half a million visitors per year.