The Wildlife Conservation Society is calling for the creation of a Sudano-Sahel Initiative, based on the model of the Congo Basin Forest Partnership, to foster wise natural resource management in a region of great global conservation value and strategic importance beset by conflict over resources.
“The significance of this find and the critical juncture we are seeing in the development of Southern Sudan require an intensified effort in the area of natural resource conservation, particularly wildlife,” said Brian D’Silva, senior policy adviser, USAID/Sudan.
Other species population estimates included 250,000 Mongalla gazelle, 160,000 tiang, 13,000 reedbuck, 8,900 buffalo and 2,800 ostrich. Also observed were lion, leopard, eland, Grant’s gazelle, roan antelope, lesser kudu, hartebeest, giraffe, oryx, crocodile, hippo and other animals in viable populations.
Fay and his colleagues also discovered populations of beisa oryx, thought to be extinct in the region, and the Nile lechwe, which is antelope found no where else in the world, and presumed near extinction. More than 50 beisa oryx were spotted in the Boma area alone. Almost 4,000 Nile lechwe were estimated in the Sudd swamps along with considerable populations of hippopotamus, buffalo and sitatunga.
Southern National Park, located west of the Nile, did not fare as well. Here the team observed a 90 percent loss of some key species since the ’80s. According to Elkan, “We saw no buffalo where in 1981 there were estimated to have been 60,000, and only one group of elephants was sighted where some 10,000 had been estimated to roam in the past.” The team did verify the presence of the largest antelope on earth, the Derby
Source:Wildlife Conservation Society