The government of the Republic of Chad has signed a landmark agreement, passing over management of the Ennedi Natural and Cultural reserve to South African based NGO, African Parks.
This is the 14th park the organisation will be responsible for, creating a combined area of 10 million hectares of land under its management.
“An oasis of life in the Sahara, the vast 40,000 km² reserve is a desert landscape of extremely rich cultural heritage, with records of human presence dating back over 10,000 years,” African Parks say.
The unique reserve is home to over 525 species of flora, a relict population of West African crocodiles and is visited by 199 migratory bird species.
Restoration of Ennedi will ensure the resident species and any passing visitors will continue to have sanctuary, whilst also preserving the area’s cultural heritage and history of human occupation from over 10,000 years ago.
Ennedi has been under pressure from a variety of human influences including poaching, wood harvesting, unregulated vehicle activities and degradation of archaeological sites, all of which have had dire effects on the delicate ecosystem.
“Ennedi is an absolute global gem but requires protection to secure this historic and culturally significant landscape” said Margriet Schreuders, head of charities at the Dutch Postcode Lottery, which contributed to the project.
“We are delighted to be able to support African Parks and the Chadian Government in their long-term management of this reserve, and to see its transformation over time to benefit both the people and the wildlife of Chad.”
African Parks says it will include local people in the park’s management, with the aim of creating employment and education opportunities and sustainable sources of income through eco-tourism.