Rwanda: African Parks’ CEO Peter Fearnhead and Akagera’s Park Manager Jes Gruner attended Rwanda’s gorilla naming ceremony, Kwita Izina on the 2nd September, at which the CEO was given the honour of naming one of the 22 baby gorillas. Kwita Izina is an ancestral baby naming ceremony, and was created to bring local and international attention to the urgency of protecting mountain gorillas and their habitats. This year’s ceremony created an opportunity for the CEOs of the Rwanda Development Board and African Parks to discuss the possibility of broadening the portfolio of parks under management in Rwanda by African Parks. We expect that these conceptual discussions will develop in the coming months.
Ennedi, Chad: Two meetings were convened with traditional leaders and regional authorities from the two regions that will be spanned by the protected area. These meetings were met with enthusiasm, and they concluded with a letter signed by the traditional leader’s (Chef de Canton) representative, supporting the creation of the protected area of Ennedi.
Shaba Hills and Buffalo Springs, Kenya: Good discussions were held between Peter Fearnhead and the Isiolo County Government, who confirmed that they are now ready to conclude the mandate to manage Shaba Hills and Buffalo Springs, which we anticipate finalising before the end of the year.
Bazaruto Archipelago Marine National Park, Mozambique: Following the successful due diligence site visit last month, negotiations are advancing towards conclusion on the contractual agreement. Peter Fearnhead held a positive meeting with the Mozambique delegation during the CoP17 conference which confirmed the high level political support for the partnership. A detailed infrastructure plan has been prepared along with an updated business plan and we are looking to firm-up funding commitments in order to push this agreement to conclusion and bring on our first marine reserve.
Gambella, Ethiopia: After several months of a stalemate, with almost all of our activities stalled with no resolution, we have formally written to the government of Ethiopia seeking clarity on African Parks’ continued involvement and a clear way forward. Failure to achieve a satisfactory resolution of the acute challenges relating to the Charities Agency and their blocking of our bank accounts will mean a termination of all further interest in Gambella.
Pendjari National Park, Benin: Jean Marc Froment, African Parks’ Conservation Director for Francophone Africa, travelled to Benin to explore possibilities of assuming management of Pendjari National Park located in the north-west of the country. Pendjari would be the first extension of our portfolio in to western Africa. It forms part of the WAP complex (W-Arli-Pendjari), which is a vast protected area straddling Benin, Burkina Faso and Niger and one of the few functional ecosystems in this region. The Government of Benin has identified a public-private partnership with African Parks as a key mechanism to restore Pendjari as a thriving wildlife destination, and negotiations with the Government are being progressed by them with determination and commitment.