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Massive herds of animals found to still exist in Southern Sudan

elieved us,” said Maj. Gen. Alfred Akwoch, undersecretary of the Ministry of the Environment, Wildlife Conservation, and Tourism. “Thanks to the aerial surveys, we now know that wildlife resources, including elephants, are still intact in many areas, but also urgently need strong measures to conserve and manage them through joint efforts at all levels.”

The Southern Sudan region was last surveyed in1982 by the Wildlife Conservation Society. Civil war broke out in the region in 1983. Based on experiences in other war-torn regions such as Mozambique and Angola, where wildlife vanished as a result of those conflicts, scientists believed that the wildlife of Southern Sudan had also disappeared.

Recently, though, reports from within Southern Sudan indicated that pockets of wildlife had been sighted. Marjan and his colleagues from the Wildlife Conservation Society and members of the Ministry of Environment, Wildlife Conservation, and Tourism, with support from USAID/USDA, undertook ground surveys in 2001 and 2002 of the wildlife populations in Boma and confirmed the presence of white-eared kob in considerable numbers. At the time, aerial surveys could not be conducted due to the ongoing war. “We were amazed to see these large numbers of white-eared kob in Southern Sudan,” said Marjan. “Most people assumed we would find nothing in terms of wildlife.”

Fay and his colleagues decided to return to Southern Sudan to conduct new surveys as part of a 2004 Wildlife Conservation Society/National Geographic project, dubbed Africa MegaFlyover, when a team traveled in a modified Cessna 182 just hundreds of feet above the ground for 70,000 miles (112,650 km) to create an unprecedented record of human impact on the land. A survey of Southern Sudan was part of the initial planning for the trip, but Fay was unable to complete his surveys due to political obstacles.

On Jan. 17, 2007, Fay, Elkan and Marjan set out to replicate the surveys of the early ’8
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Source:Wildlife Conservation Society


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