Gorongosa’s New Year Begins With Major Announcements

Image of a tiger walking out of a cage.

Photo: Piotr Naskrecki

Mozambique’s Gorongosa National Park, home to the E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Laboratory, and several efforts in support of the Half-Earth Project ®, has much to celebrate in the New Year. Gorongosa is a designated Places for Half-Earth Future site, being managed for conservation as well as significant scientific activities that contribute to the conservation and creation of a Half-Earth future. Several announcements shine a light on the great work and effort of many who safeguard biodiversity.

Gorongosa Joins “United for Biodiversity”

Gorongosa has become the first national park on continental Africa to join the global coalition “United for Biodiversity.” The Global Coalition #UnitedforBiodiversity aims to raise awareness at a time science warns us 1 million species are at risk of extinction. More than 100 institutions and organizations have already endorsed the common pledge of the Coalition, calling on all to act for nature.

“With close to 7,000 documented species of animals and plants, and landscapes that encompass nearly every habitat type found in south-eastern Africa, Gorongosa National Park represents exceptional biological richness that must be protected at all cost”, says Piotr Naskrecki, Associate Director of the E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Laboratory in Gorongosa, and Half-Earth Chair in a recent press release.

Recently, Dr. Naskrecki shared his intention to increase the number of Mozambican taxonomic experts and conservationists in a new fellowship program.

Park Introduces Leopard and Adds 1.1. Million Acres

Gorongosa National Park also released the first leopard to the preserve, once home to an endemic population before a civil war 40 years ago wiped out more than 90% of the large mammals in the park. Named, “Sena” meaning “Earth’s grace”, the leopard will join another male leopard that has already taken up residence in the park on his own. Her presence will help control the baboon population in the intricate web of life that sustains nature. Her arrival comes at a time when a new agreement with the Mozambican government will extend environmental protections and local community control around the park by another 1.1 million acres, to create an unbroken “mountains to mangroves” corridor fit for the wide-ranging leopards.

Read the story in the NY Times.

Park Ecologist, E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Board Chair, Named to Explorers Club 50

Elephant ecologist, Dominique Gonçalves, currently working on mitigating human-elephant conflict and conservation, has been selected for this inaugural class of 50 Explorers (EC50). 

Currently serving as the Manager of Gorongosa’s Elephant Ecology Project, Dominique’s work focuses on the long-term monitoring of Gorongosa’s elephant population and their habitat use (distribution, movement, and range expansion).

The EC50 was established to reflect the diversity of exploration, and give a voice to trailblazing explorers, scientists, and activists. Over 400 nominations were received from 48 countries. Over 46 countries of work are represented by the winners from 17 countries of residence. 

Oceanographer and E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation board member Dawn Wright was also selected to the EC50. Dawn Wright is the Chief Scientist at ESRI, creator of ArcGIS, the world’s most powerful mapping and spatial analytics software, currently supporting the Half-Earth Project Map. 

Conservation areas like Gorongosa National Park are key to safeguarding species and ensuring future generations can benefit from biodiversity’s many contributions to functioning ecosystems and human well being. These recent announcements put the spotlight firmly on the great work and effort of many to safeguard biodiversity.

“Biodiversity is the totality of all inherited variation in the life forms of Earth, of which we are one species. We study and save it to our great benefit. We ignore and degrade it to our great peril.” —E.O. Wilson

For more information on Gorongosa National Park, visit Gorongosa National Park, and follow the daily activities of the Park on Facebook.

Visit #UnitedforBiodiversity for more information.

For more information about Dominique Gonçalves, Dawn Wright, Ph.D., and the Explorer’s Club 50 please visit:  Explorers Club – 50 People Changing the World

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