As the only great ape species experiencing a population rise, the mountain gorilla’s recovery is an undeniable conservation success story. But the unprecedented growth poses a challenge for its habitat in the Virunga Mountains: can it sustain the future of this critically endangered species in a rapidly industrializing Africa?
There is greater biodiversity in Africa’s Albertine Rift region where Virunga National Park is located than in any other ecosystem in Africa. This richly diverse array of habitats is home to critical populations of the world’s last remaining mountain gorillas.
Established in 2000, Campo Ma’an National Park is a protected area in southern Cameroon created as environmental compensation for the controversial Chad-Cameroon Pipeline. The 2,460km sq. park neighbors five logging concessions, and agro-industries for palm oil and rubber—all within the Campo Ma’an Operational Technical Unit.
Group ranches host significant proportions of Kenya’s terrestrial wildlife populations—including elephants that live outside or use lands beyond protected areas—and are predominantly inhabited by pastoralists. Since its implementation in the 1960s, the group ranch model has struggled to meet the demands of rising human and livestock populations and climate change impacts. Constrained by a lack of open space critical to their livelihood and facing dwindling prospects, group ranch pastoralists are increasingly sedentarized and diversifying into cultivation and tourism, often at the expense of wildlife populations and ecological processes.
Africans traveling around the continent is the next big thing. African tourism is also projected to grow by 55 percent over the next ten years.