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Niokolo-Koba National Park

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Niokolo-Koba National Park
Ronald Thompson
University of Phoenix

In Senegal, the Niokolo-Koba National Park is the largest and oldest national park (Giant Eland Conservation, 2010). The park has around 200 meters of flat regions with lines of hills, where the remainder of the park is full of low plateaus. There are many languages that are spoken within the park. They are: Spanish, French, Russian, English, and Arabic. The Niokolo-Koba National Park was put on the World Heritage Danger List in 2007. The park is located in the western region of Africa near the Guinea-Bissau border in South Eastern Senegal (Absolute Astronomy 2010). It best known for its wildlife and it contains the most important natural habitat for biological diversity, including threatened species. Senegal is home to “2,500 different types of species and the Niokolo-Koba contain 1,500 of them” (Giant Eland Conservation, 2010). Currently 120 different species families occupy the park as well. The park is home to “80 different species of mammals, 330 birds, 38 reptiles, 20 amphibians, 60 different types of fish” (Giant Eland Conservation, 2010). The vegetation plays a strong role in this park as well. There are four types of soils that are found in the park in various locations. The soils include “tropical red soil, ferrolateritic crusts, alluvial, and hydromorphic” (Giant Eland Conservation, 2010). The vegetation in the park comes in many forms. The park includes grass, woody savannas, bushes, and many trees. A long list of animals and vegetation appear to be on the edge of endangerment. The diversity of life forms within this park is enormous, but the main attractions are the fauna and flora which are breathtaking. Human intrusions have continued to be a problem in this area. In the years of 1989-1991 a survey was given that stated that the number of animals was over 40,000, after 17 years the number has decline to less than 900. The biodiversity of the Niokolo-Koba is captivating. The park has the one of the greatest biodiversity interrelationships among its life forms found in Senegal. These species are dependent on other species and vegetation within the park to survive. Through the months of June and October there is a presence of rain throughout the park. The rest of the year is a dry season with no rain. These conditions make it hard for many species to survive in their search for food. The Gambia River flows through Niokolo-Koba National Park. In the year 2007 there was a proposed new dam intentionally meant to be created on the Gambia River which will cause problems for the large and small mammals on the park. This is a passage written in 2004 by G.G. Tappan, M. Sall, E. C. Wood, and M. Cushing stating that the accelerated degradation of natural resources, decline in agricultural productivity and rapid population growth along with the deterioration in the quality of life in the Niokolo-Koba Natural Park. The unhappiest moment happening to the Niokolo-Koba is the human intrusions in the area. The park needs protection from commercial poaching that occurs every day. The human activities going on in the park are endangering species. The government is also conversing and deciding on placing a dam in the park. This dam would cause dehydration and major damage to the aqua species wild life because the dam would upstream water while stopping the flooding essential to the Niokolo-Koba’s wild life. If the government could put a stop to the suggested dams or attempt to create artificial lakes, the species would be able to live in their own natural habitat without the worries of extinction. They are changing the environments too much in which the animals are not able to live stable. The park is now a tourist attraction, and a getaway. The climate causes concerns for brush fires that can be problem for many species habitats. The herders and farmers have disagreements that has cause them continue to develop land that is supposed to be protected. All these issues describe above are threats to the area.
Even though there are diverse protection strategies that exist to safeguard and preserve the area, there is still not enough protection for many species that reside in the park. The park is under the direct control of the Senegalese National Parks Directorate (SNPD). The Senegalese National Parks Directorate is a section dedicated to the armed forces military administration. This is a part of the Ministry for the Atmosphere and Protection of Nature Organization. The Senegalese National Parks Directorate is in charge of poaching control, poacher criminal prosecution, and any criminal activity taking place in the park. The park is under command and protection 24 hours a day by its warden and his deputy. The park contains “82 rangers and technical rangers whom occupy 15 actively used ranger posts” (Giant Eland Conservation, 2010). A total of 25 ranger posts are spread about the park. Seven of the ranger posts were recently torn down. Also there are 50 inducted soldiers whom help out the park staff when called upon. Rangers and soldiers help out the Senegalese National Parks Directorate monitor the animals and control poaching activities. They have attain radios and vehicles along with surveillance post in order to maintain a long-term security approach to combat illegal poaching in the area The conservation staff has brought their concerns forwarded asking for more staffing. This effort shows that they are understaffed to control this crisis. All species are depending on their reservation to keep them safe from poaching. Funding has been asked for by the Conservation staff multiple times but yet to be successful. The hotel profit margin would be a great tool that can be use to renovated the reservation which is on the park as well. A tourist that comes to Niokolo-Koba National Park would be asked to donate, just as if you would donate to any foundation for a good cause. The people that donate will have an art exhibit of photographs taking of the endangered animals in the reserve.
Many other efforts have been made to further the preservation of the Niokolo-Koba National Park. The park gains support from foreign organizations including three donor assisted developments by the EU and French government to recover infrastructure, inspection, and local contribution in a fresh management map drawn up in the year 2012. All of the management plans have gone through revisions monthly instead of yearly. Many anti-poaching groups are being made by the creation of anti-poaching aerial surveillance program. The government is supporting many efforts to enhance the park and have thus created boundary segregation. “Senegal’s National Environmental Action Plan (NEAP) speaks of an environmental and social crisis characterized by accelerated degradation of natural resources, decline in agricultural productivity, rapid population growth, and deterioration in the quality of life” (Journal of Arid Environments, 2004). Even donor solicitation occurs to finance an increase in staffing and training of new employees. The employees have also implemented selective monitoring of area prone to poaching due to the species in certain areas. Also species survival plans have been made to help certain species survive in area with less poaching. Many people ask what can an individual do to help preserve the diversity of the Niokolo-Koba National Park. It starts with the support of all the efforts and proposals that make the park better. The educational awareness has to be in the forefront of the success of this park. The utmost desirable necessity is financial support from individuals to hire more staff and officers to help safeguard the species that exist in the park. The diversity of the park is extremely important because poaching occurs so often and the animals are getting smaller in numbers. Niokolo-Koba National park is well known for its beautiful wildlife that the numbers keep declining till tourist will no long have an exotic view. People travel here to see the waterfalls and animals. They should also think about the ways they can contribute money that would employ more people to work risk areas. The surveillance cameras are spread around the park, but it seems that this step is not working or not being maintained properly. Despite the rumors, the government has made an incredible footprint by placing the park on the endangered list for everyone to see. The awareness has to be world spread for the park to be able to survive the hard times. I chose this park because of its history and the struggles its nation has face. This article explain the life forms, biological interrelationships, threats to the area, protections that exist, efforts made to further protection, and what we can do to help. I hope my efforts to bring this story alive is not diminish, but a blueprint of understand in what this park needs now, you.

References
Absolute Astronomy. (2010). Niokolo-Koba National Park. Retrieved from http://www.absoluteastronomy.com/topics/Niokolo-Koba_National_Park
Encyclopedia of Earth (2010). Niokolo-Koba-Senegal. Retrieved from http http://www.eoearth.org/article/Niokolo-Koba_National_Park,_Senegal Giant Eland Conservation. (2010). Niokolo Koba National park. Retrieved from http://www.gianteland.com/where-we-work/niokolo-koba-national-park/ Journal of Arid Environments. (2004). Ecoregions and land cover trends in Senegal. Retrieved from http://igskmncngs086.cr.usgs.gov/webappcontent/gwpp/YJARE_1317_Tappan.pdf
Parc. W., Biodiversity and Values, (2008) retrieved from http://www.africannaturalheritage.org/Niokolo-Koba-Senegal.html
The Living Africa. (1998). Parc National De Niokolo-Koba, Senegal. Retrieved from http://library.thinkquest.org/16645/national_parks/senegal.shtml UNESCO World Heritage Centre. (2010). Niokolo-Koba National Park. Retrieved from http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/153
United Nations Environment Program. (2008). Niokolo-Koba National Park. Retrieved from http://www.unep-wcmc.org/sites/wh/pdf/Niokolo-Koba.pdf

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