National, News

South Sudan thrives with over 5.8 million wildlife

By William Madouk


First-ever national wildlife census unveiled marveling statistic, calling for conservation strengthening of iconic species grappling of extinction and human-induced threats.

President Salva Kiir Mayardit, who declared the wildlife population standing at 5.8 million, said the flora and fauna, equally need preservation to boost tourism.

“South Sudan is a land rich in biodiversity hosting some of the rare and most beautiful animals,” President Kiir said.

“Today, I announce the findings of this census to our nation and the international community, we are number one as said. the total wildlife population in South Sudan is estimate at 5.8 million,” he added.

He called on South Sudanese to protect and allow animals to breed, asserting that it would boost the country’s revenue generation.

The head-of-state also hinted that his administration would reactivate and robust the six national parks and a dozen game reserves that cover more than 13% of the terrain.

A conservation scientist, Dr. Mike Fay, who led the survey, cited that they found about 4 million antelopes.

“The results that we got is spectacular, we estimated between 4 and 6 million antelopes that is bigger than any other concentration of antelopes in the planet,” Fay stated.

“The white-eared Kobs, we estimate the population of white-eared Kobs between 3.6 million and 4.9 million,” he added.

He put Tiang between 170,000 and 622,000 and the Mongalla gazelles between 198,000 and 319,00 and bohor reedbucks 59,000 to 212,000 respectively.

“So, today we are telling the world that South Sudan has the largest large mammal migration on the planet,” he noted.

According to Dr. Fay, the survey over a two-week period last year in Boma and Badingilo and nearby areas relied on spotters in airplanes.

With over 100 thousand pictures taken and nearly 60,000 photos counted and tracking more than a hundred collared animals over about 120,000 square kilometres, Fay noted.

“We flew for 2-3 weeks and covered the entire area that 127,000 square kilometres, flying 10 sec and 10km apart and you count the wildlife as you fly and you also take pictures,”

However, he added that some species are very much reduced compared to 1980s these animals include elephants, rhinos, giraffe, hippos and buffalos just to mention but a few.

Meanwhile, the Minister of Wildlife Conservation and Tourism, Rizik Hassan Zacharia said his docket has embark of transformation of wildlife and tourism industry as a way to diversify the country’s economy.



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