Magazine article Geographical

A Helping Hand

Magazine article Geographical

A Helping Hand

Article excerpt

Gorongosa National Park in central Mozambique once supported some of the densest wildlife populations in Africa (page 50). The park protects a wide diversity of habitat types, the result of seasonal flooding and a mosaic of different soil types, and, consequently, boasted an impressive level of biodiversity.

The bountiful wildlife attracted tourists in large numbers, and the park was the jewel in Mozambique's tourism crown. But then the country was plunged into decades of chaos--suffering first a war of independence and then a brutal civil war. The park became a battleground, and its wildlife was caught in the crossfire. Populations of large mammals dropped by as much as 95 per cent.

Since peace has returned, work has begun on restoring the park. But Mozambique is desperately poor--it ranks 172nd out of 182 countries in the UN's human development index--so there isn't a lot of spare cash for conservation. Fortunately, the park has attracted a rich benefactor. The Carr Foundation, a non-profit organisation founded by US entrepreneur Greg Carr, has signed a 20-year contract with the government to co-manage the park and pledged US$40million to support the project. …

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