BOMA NATIONAL PARK, South Sudan—U.S. Ambassador to South Sudan Tom Hushek today launched a three-year, $7.5 million U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) project implemented by the Wildlife Conservation Society to conserve wildlife, natural resources, and protected areas in South Sudan, while helping to build sustainable livelihoods and mitigate conflict in and around Boma and Badingilo national parks.
“South Sudan has tremendous biological resources of national, regional, and global importance. These include iconic species such as elephants, giraffes, buffalos, lions, leopards, and one of the world’s largest antelope migrations,” Ambassador Hushek said at the project launch at Boma National Park. “But because South Sudan has suffered from war for most of its history, wildlife populations and habitat are under increasing pressure from poachers and traffickers, illegal charcoal production, mining, logging, and unregulated development.”
This new project builds on a decade of collaboration between USAID, the Wildlife Conservation Society, and local communities around Boma and Badingilo national parks that began in 2008. This conservation work has yielded significant accomplishments, including:
• Mapped South Sudan’s wildlife population, including assessing the state of wildlife during and after conflicts.
• Trained 450 park rangers and other enforcement officers plus communities on the importance of wildlife protection.
• Established seven park ranger offices and training facilities within the national parks.
• 930 kilograms of ivory and more than 10 tons of bush meat and other illegal wildlife products have been confiscated at Juba International Airport and along the borders with Uganda, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Ethiopia.
• Since 2012, law enforcement have made more than 100 arrests and 9 criminal prosecutions for poaching and illegal wildlife trafficking.
• Four local community organizations have been established in the following conservation areas (Pochalla, Gemeiza, Lafon and Nyat) and are providing livelihood activities including sustainable fishing, poultry, conservation gardening and art craft benefiting at least 25,000 people.
“The heart of our work in conservation is making sure that local communities in South Sudan benefit from protecting the natural resources that are their heritage,” Ambassador Hushek said.