Rangers battle human encroachment in Sudan’s biggest park

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Spread over greater than 10,000 sq. kilometres (3,800 sq. miles), 400 kilometres (250 miles) southeast of Khartoum, the Dinder National Park is Sudan’s biggest

Tucked away by the Ethiopian border, Sudan’s Dinder National Park boasts the nation’s most numerous wildlife, however rangers face a every day battle to guard it as human encroachment mounts.

Spread over greater than 10,000 sq. kilometres (3,800 sq. miles), 400 kilometres (250 miles) southeast of Khartoum, the park is Sudan’s biggest and abuts Ethiopia’s Alatash National Park.

Sandwiched between the huge grasslands of the Sahel and the forests of the Ethiopian highlands, the park boasts a wide range of habitats which have made it a haven for wildlife.

Freshwater lakes dot the park’s woodlands and savannah, making it an necessary flyway for migratory birds as nicely.

“It enjoys the richest wildlife in Sudan,” mentioned Albadri Alhassan, head of the park’s growth organisation. “But the growing human violations threaten to diminish the wilderness.”

When the park was first declared a protected reserve beneath Anglo-Egyptian rule in 1935, the realm was sparsely inhabited.

But in latest a long time, the inhabitants has soared in the villages that dot the park and its surrounding buffer zone, creating enormous strain for brand new land to develop crops.

And as cattle herders’ conventional grazing lands have been ploughed up, they in flip have more and more encroached on the park in search of pasture.

Sandwiched between the vast grasslands of the Sahel and the forests of the Ethiopian highlands, the park boasts a variety of hab
Sandwiched between the huge grasslands of the Sahel and the forests of the Ethiopian highlands, the park boasts a wide range of habitats which have made it a haven for wildlife

“Such behaviours are posing an immense threat to the reserve,” mentioned the top of Dinder’s wildlife analysis station, Omar Mohamed.

Among the hardest-hit species has been the giraffe, which has disappeared from the park in the face of habitat loss and different environmental components, Mohamed mentioned.

‘Great hurt to wildlife’

Villagers say they do their finest to observe park restrictions however add that they desperately want extra land to feed themselves.

“We use traditional agriculture and we prevent our animals from grazing outside our village,” mentioned farmer Abubakr Ibrahim from Mai Carato, a village on the west financial institution of the Rahad river, which flows via the reserve.

He complains that some laws are “very hard and impractical” to observe in the rising villages.

“Our village alone has an estimated population of around 2,000 people,” he mentioned, including that its allotted 5 sq. kilometres of land was “too small”.

Human encroachment disturbs the park's wildlife in different ways
Human encroachment disturbs the park’s wildlife in other ways

“It is not enough for us,” he mentioned, arguing that “the reserve is vast, so giving us more space will not do any harm”.

But conservationists disagree.

“Any expansion to the villages will greatly harm the reserve, disturb the wildlife and reduce their resources,” Mohamed mentioned.

“It would be best to move those villages to better serviced areas outside the reserve.”

Human encroachment disturbs the park’s wildlife in different methods too.

Hungry villagers usually harvest wild honey from the park’s woods, lighting fires to create smoke to push back the bees, in breach of park guidelines.

Rangers patrol the rugged terrain in search of violators, who can face hefty fines or as much as six months in jail relying on the offence.

“We try to pursue them but sometimes they flee before we arrive,” ranger Mohamed Makki advised AFP.

  • Hungry villagers often harvest wild honey from the park's woods, lighting fires to create smoke to ward off the bees, in breach
    Hungry villagers usually harvest wild honey from the park’s woods, lighting fires to create smoke to push back the bees, in breach of park guidelines
  • A ranger patrols in the Dinder National Park
    A ranger patrols in the Dinder National Park

But all will not be misplaced. The park’s wildlife analysis chief says sightings of hyenas, lions and smaller cats like genets and servals stay frequent, significantly at night time.

By day, guests can see African buffalo and several other species of gazelle in addition to an array of birdlife, each resident and migratory.

Despite all of the challenges, the reserve has “remained pristine and managed to maintain its wilderness,” Mohamed boasts.

“All we want is to keep it this way.”


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© 2021 AFP

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Rangers battle human encroachment in Sudan’s biggest park (2021, April 19)
retrieved 19 April 2021
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