Whenever dugongs are spotted, as four were in 1997 off Africa's eastern coast, it catches the attention of conservationists.
That's because only a few hundred of these elusive mammals--also known as fork-tailed sea cows--remain in African waters, between Somalia and Mozambique.
Less famous than Serengeti National Park and Ngorongoro Crater, Tarangire nonetheless qualifies as one of the finest parks in Tanzania.
Location: Eastern Tanzania, near Lake Manyara, in the Rift Valley.
Size: About 1,000 square miles.
Landscape: Beautiful broad expanses of woodland savanna with acacia, sausage, tamarind and fever trees; grasslands studded with ancient baobab trees in the northern section.
Even before Tarangire was established as a national park back in 1969, AWF had been working to protect the phenomenal natural resources in the area. Though not as well known as its sister park a few miles distant on the Serengeti plains, Tarangire is one of the brightest jewels in Tanzania's crown. Now, AWF is undertaking an ambitious new conservation effort that encompasses the entire Tarangire ecosystem--not only the park but the corridors used during the great migrations of antelope, wildebeest and other species in their seasonal searches for food and water.
AWF has supported rhino conservation efforts since 1979. Recently AWF's Mark R. Stanley Price, director of African operations, and Philip Muruthi, coordinator of the Species and Ecosystems program, visited two rhino projects in Kenya's Tsavo National Park and found out for themselves the rewards and rigors of rhino monitoring. Following are excerpts from Stanley Price's report.
By Mark R. Stanley Price
Our first destination was "Oliver's camp," which lies on a natural water line, a vivid gash of green in an otherwise parched landscape in Tsavo East.
At least 20 northern white rhinos, the most endangered rhino subspecies, have survived the civil war in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Four babies have been born since the conflict abated in May 1997. Congo's Garamba National Park contains the world's only remaining northern white rhinos. An estimated 27 to 30 rhinos lived there in 1996, up from 15 a dozen years earlier.