Gabon's National Parks
Gabon contains one of the richest and most biodiverse ecosystems in all of Africa, home to many rare and threatened species in the forests that cover eighty-five percent of its total surface area. However, Gabon had no protected areas, and extensive logging contracts that challenged this. Until September, 4th 2002. Just over a month before, on the first of August, three men proposed a network of parks to the President, El Hadj Omar Bongo and his ministers. These three men were British biologist Lee White had been working for the Wildlife Conservation Society as the head of its operations in Gabon for ten years previously, a Cameroonian biologist named Andre Kamdem Toham who had been working in Libreville for the World Wildlife Fund, and Mike Fay, an American ecologist who was famous in Gabon for his Megatransect trek across Africa, and Gabon. The proposal was based upon what Fay had seen on his trek.
The proposal was accepted, and the network of thirteen National Parks was created little over a month later.
The parks cover a total area of more than 10,000 square miles, or 26,000 square kilometres, more than 10% of Gabon's total land mass, the second highest percentage of land devoted to conservation in the world. They cover a wide range of habitats, from mountains to savannahs:
1. Akanda is a haven for migratory birds with its mangrove swamps and tidal flats.
2 & 3. Monts De Cristal: The high altitude forests here contain some of the greatest plant diversity in Africa.
4. Pongara is home to herds of elephants and buffalo, as well as Gabon's most popular beach and nature resorts.
5. MinkÃÂ©bÃÂ© is renowned for its "inselbergs", large granite domes, and the wildlife that live around them.
6. Ivindo protects a series of...