Waza National Park, Cameroon

Waza National Park

Waza National Park

Waza National Park, Cameroon.

The Waza National Park is found in the Logone-et-Chari Division of the Far North Region of Cameroon. It was created in 1934 as a hunting reserve, and achieved a national park status in 1968. In 1979 it became a UNESCO biosphere reserve. It occupies a total land surface area of about 1,700 kilometres square.

In 1997, a management Master Plan was drawn up for the preservation and conservation of the biodiversity of the park. This management plan has been said to be the first of its kind in Cameroon.

The Waza National Park is found adjacent to the Chingurmi-Duguma sector of Nigeria's Chad Basin National Park. Before the creation of the park, some forest dwellers were found within the park but were later resettled on the borders of the park. The prominent faunal species inhabiting the Waza National Park are: lions, elephants, hyenas, hartebeests, roan, Buffon's kob, waterbuck, reed, gazelle and giraffe, etc and the avifauna are geese, egrets, ostriches, herons, pelicans, jabirus and ibis, etc

The park is bounded by the village of Waza to its west, (close to the border with Nigeria), and Chad which is 10 kilometres away, the "Yaéré" floodplain to the east and north-east, and the Maroua–Kousséri road to the west. The park is 120 kilometres to the north of Maroua and 135 kilometres off Kousseri. The park is open to the public only from 15 November to 15 June and a guide is essential to see the wild life, in compliance with the rules of the park.

The main habitat is in the “Chad depression” (The depression was originally covered by Lake Chad) with an average elevation in the range of 300–320 metres. The topography of the park is flat. Sand dunes in the western area indicate past desert conditions. The land classification
consists of terrestrial landscapes and the park has shrub land and grassland.

The climate is semi-arid and erratic. Rainfall takes place from the months of June to October and the dry season from November to May.

The vegetation types in the park are the open combretaceous shrub savanna, anogeissus leiocarpus woodland, lannea humilis open grass savanna, acacia seyal tree savanna and Yaéré floodplains with perennial grasses. There are no perennial grasses in the park t due to the desert conditions, with no perennial streams flowing through the park area. Patches of trees and stands of Mitragyna inermis are also reported from small islands near temporary water bodies.

In this condition, vegetation is in the formation of compact clay.
The population of mammals in the park is one of the largest in central West Africa, with 30 species in the park. Some of the species include: Red-fronted gazelle (Gazella rufifrons) and the Korrigum (Damaliscus lunatus korrigum), Loxodonta Africana.

Waza harbours a dwindling population of lions, elephants and Kordofan Giraffe, Kob-antelopes, red-fronted gazelle, fast moving ostriches, hartebeest, tsessebe, lyre-horned cob, olive baboon, patas and vervet monkey, leopard, cheetah and nocturnal aardvark, etc.

Birds include: Marbled Duck, Ferruginous Duck, Greater Spotted Eagle, Scissor-tailed Kite, Lesser Kestrel, Nubian Bustard, Quail-plover, Arabian Bustard, hippos heron, hornbill, gross hopper, starks, Abyssinian roller, Ostriches.
The park is also working in close collaboration of some international NGO’s like BirdLife International that have identified some species as: Garganey, Great White Pelican, Fox Kestrel, Pallid Harrier, Savile's Bustard, Black Crowned-crane, African Collared-dove, Senegal Parrot, etc. Water supply has since been a major issue for preservation of biodiversity.

The park is managed by the Conservation Service of the Waza National Park, and the Cameroon Ministry of Environment and the Protection of Nature. The park has also established collaboration with the IUCN Waza-Logone project .

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