The National Parks of Africa

One of the most successful ways of protecting endangered species of animals in Africa has been the implementation of National Parks. These vary in size and most countries on the continent have at least one and are seen as a way as both protecting rare species plus attracting tourists into the country.

When parks were first created they were done so as I way for hunters to find their animals but with the rapid reduction of animal numbers they soon became the most successful way for controlling animal numbers and protecting endangered species. The variety of parks on the continent also include some parks that contain significant human population while others have none. Many of the parks work with international organizations on programs in controlling, monitoring and even reintroducing certain species back into the wild. As well as national parks, there are also marine reserves, forest reserves and natural parks.

The huge migration of animals across the Serengeti

One of the most famous national parks is the Massai Mara National Reserve in Kenya. The park is home to the annual migration of 2.5 million animals across the Serengeti ecosystem that stretches between Kenya and Tanzania.

The 1500 square kilometers covers a vast area of savannah grassland that contains lions, leopards, elephant, buffalo and rhinoceros. The region is also home to over 470 species of bird and has a wetland ecosystem that is home to both alligators and crocodiles. The aim of the park is to strike a balance between the natural world operating with animals hunting to survive and stopping man from poaching animals from the park. With the ivory trade being such a financial temptation it is a constant battle to protect certain species within the region.

Animal congregate around a watering hole in the Etosha National Park

The Central Kalahari Game Reserve in Botswana is larger than the Massai Mara and covers a region where the San Bushman have lived for an estimated 30,000 years. The 52,000 square kilometers makes it the second largest national park in the world and covers 10% of Botswana.

There are many rare animals that survive in an environment that at times can be harsh. The work of the government in creating a safe environment for the animals has included in trying to persuade many of the local population to relocate. One of the most unusual parks in Africa is the Etosha National Park in Namibia. The name means “Great White Palace” and this reflected by the white pan that covers around a quarter of the area. It was formed as a result of it being the floor a lake bed that existed 12 million years ago.

The Park is now home to a wide variety of animals and birds with many locating around the waterholes that are spread among the vast plains. There are many different animals and birds that survive in the local ecosystems.

One of the rarest animals that survive in the region is the black rhinoceros, but this is not the only endangered species as the rare ecosystem provides a home to many animals that will not survive anywhere else. There are five major camping sites in the park that enables visitors to get a close view on the wildlife in the area. The national parks of Africa have been instrumental in trying to create a safe haven in order for rare species to survive in.