Quicama National Park
In the late 1990′s after 25 years of tragic civil war, Angola was in great need of assistance to rebuild its economy, social welfare and its abounding wild and beautiful areas. The WILD Foundation was the first international conservation organization to take action – helping re-establish Quicama (Kissama) National Park. This first, post-civil war national park and eco-tourism destination paved the way for other parks and the involvement of numerous other international organizations.
WILD involvement with the Kissama Foundation the organization that oversees the park and other conservation efforts in Angola, ranges from capacity building to paying park staff. The one million hectares (2.5 million acres) National Park has immense potential for ecotourism, community involvement, environmental education and bio-diversity conservation. Park Warden Roland Goetz, with WILD and other organizations, is working diligently to ensure this potential is realized.
In 2001 a collaborative team of conservation organizations and wildlife managers re-located 36 elephants and other wildlife to a 10,000 hectare, specially-fenced “soft release” area in the north of Quicama. All the animals came from over-populated areas in South Africa and Botswana. These animals helped to re-build a prospering wildlife community in the once devastated park. Once habituated, those animals that were formerly native will be released to the entire park, and those not strictly native will remain in the soft release area. The chart below shows the success of animal populations relocated to the park
Rehabilitating Angola’s National Parks
This report features the use of a new vehicle provided by WILD, through the generosity of an individual donor, in response to an urgent need of the park for adequate and reliable transportation for the Park Warden and other staff.
(excerpt from a Field Report by Dr Wouter van Hoven, 2001)
WE JUST MOVED 17 ELEPHANTS (TWO FAMILY GROUPS) and 15 eland from South Africa to Angola. Operation Noah’s Ark has finally begun. But I am ahead of myself…
Civil War – a scourge of Africa — has plagued Angola for 25 years. The war caused great suffering to civilians and the poor, plus ravaged wildlife: for ivory to arm and feed armies; landmines; and, of course, bush meat for the poorest.
However, stability has returned enough so that the flagship and popular Quicama (kee-SAAM-a) National Park, just an hour south of the capital Luanda, was set for renewal. Through my graduate students and other researchers at the Center for Wildlife Management at the University of Pretoria, we conducted a four year ecological study. The study recommended large scale re-introduction of wildlife into this stunning 5 million acre park. Now devoid of wildlife, it used to teem with up to 4000 elephants, 5000 forest buffalo and many other species. We secured private sector funding from international oil companies, The WILD Foundation, and others, to: re-train members of the local communities serve as game guards; build fences; pay local staff; and get started.
Elephants were our first choice because elsewhere in Southern Africa elephant over-population has led wildlife managers to choose culling as a means to regulate numbers….therefore translocation is a sensible and humane solution. After detailed planning a group of elephants donated by the North -West Parks Board of South Africa was airlifted to the Quicama Park in Angola. This was the first ever airlift of a complete family unit of elephants. The oldest female was 25 years old and the youngest was a calf of two months. The elephants were darted, loaded, revived, flown overnight, and released into their new home before the day became warm.
We are monitoring them, and they have adapted well to their new habitat. Much work lies ahead, but we made a good start!