Alex Rose-Innes

Two national parks in Southern Sudan and Ethiopia would respectively receive assistance from The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) to contribute to biodiversity conservation in Boma-Gambella. The Boma National Park is a protected area in eastern South Sudan near the Ethiopian border. The Gambella National Park in Ethiopia borders the Boma.

This biodiversity conservation project, co-ordinated by  the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) recently received a €4.4 million grant from the European Union (EU) for the implementation of the project, which would see governance of natural resources across these two individual parks. In a statement by IGAD, this would establish collaborative cross-border management of protected areas and interzones in the Boma-Gambella Landscape.

The project would be implemented by the WCS, an American non-governmental organisation. Its task would be to establish systems and protocols for trans-boundary collaboration to build capacity of eco-guards, be responsible for planning scientific collaboration and information sharing, wildlife law enforcement and community-based interventions.

It is expected that with the EU funding, eco-tourism in these two East African countries would be boosted. The landscapes boast diverse systems of bush, highlands and open forests where large herds of white-eared gazelles roam free. Wetlands, rivers, open forests and rivers had given rise to the Boma-Gambella being described as a veritable African Eden. Species such as among others, sassabies, kob and mongalle gazelles migrate annually from the wet areas of South Sudan to a drier habitat in Ethiopia. These migrations had been described as providing a spectacle as unforgettable as that of the annual migration of thousands of wildebeest, antelope and zebras across the great Botswana plains in search of better grazing lands. The Boma-Gamballa wildlife migration is the second largest on the continent.

Other large mammals in these parks are buffalo, elephant, African leopard, Nubian giraffe, Oryx, hartebeest, Northeast African cheetah, the common eland and Lelwel. Both parks support similar species of fauna. The Boma-Gamballa covers a collective area of 30,065 Km2

The signing of the multi-million Euro grant towards the Boma-Gamballa Landscape development project in East Africa.