Manovo-Gounda St. Floris National Park
Manovo-Gounda St. Floris National Park is a national park and UNESCO World Heritage Site located in the Central African Republic. It was inscribed to the list of World Heritage Sites in 1988 as a result of the diversity of life present within it.
- 1933 : Part of the area originally designated Oubangui – Chari National Park (13,500 hectares), renamed Matoumara National Park in 1935
- 1940 : Renamed St. Floris National Park (40,000 hectares)
- 1960 : St. Floris National Park enlarged to 100,700 hectares, and then to 277,600 in 1974
- 1979 : Manovo-Gounda St. Floris National Park designated, including St. Floris National Park and the former Safarafric hunting/tourism concession
The vast savannahs of the national park are home to a wide variety of species: black rhinoceros, elephant, cheetah, leopard, wild dog, red-fronted gazelle and buffalo; a wide range of waterfowl species also occurs in the northern floodplains.
The park comprises three main zones:
- The grassy floodplain of the Bahr Aouk and Bahr Kameur rivers in the north
- A gently undulating transitional plain of bushy or wooded savanna with occasional small granite inselbergs, and
- The Chaine des Bongo plateau in the south.
The climate is tropical, semi-humid Sudano-Guinean, with a mean annual rainfall of between 950 and 1,700 mm, mainly falling between June and November. December to May is hot and dry and grass fires are common.
Local Human Population
Most of the area has been sparsely inhabited since the beginning of the century having been a no-man’s-land between opposing sultanates. However, nomadic cattle herders from the Nyala area of Sudan and from Chad, with between 30-40,000 head, enter the park during the winter as part of their dry season range, in a traditional transhumance. In the past, drought has also driven them there. There is sparse and limited agriculture around the park boundaries.
Threats to Site
The site was added to the List of World Heritage in Danger following reports of illegal grazing and poaching by heavily armed hunters, who may have harvested as much as 80% of the park’s wildlife. The shooting of four members of the park staff in early 1997 and a general state of deteriorating security brought all development projects and tourism to a halt. The government of the Central African Republic proposed to assign site management responsibility to a private foundation. The preparation of a detailed state of conservation report and rehabilitation plan for the site was recommended by the World Heritage Committee at its 1998 session.People are working on breeding programs to revive the natural wildlife.
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