Earth News Journal 3: Rebirth of Gorongosa National Park

Often in the wake of new industrialization and expansion, national parks and other naturally-preserved lands across the globe are overlooked, misplaced, and bulldozed, regardless of their ecological or environmental significance. One such land in the African country of Mozambique is Mount Gorongosa, surrounded by the Great Rift Valley in the Gorongosa National Park.

The Mount stretches far above the Mozambique plains at 6,112 feet, and it catches more than six feet of rainfall a year, according to an article in the June 2013 edition of the National Geographic Magazine. This rain water is one of the fundamental driving forces in protecting this Mount and the surrounding lands. Without the runoff waters, the land surrounding Mount Gorongosa would be parched and deprived of rich nutrients. Animals, plants, and people depend on the rainwater of Gorongosa.

Before Mozambique’s civil war in the 1960s and 1970s, Gorongosa sheltered “elephants, African buffalo, hippopotamuses, lions, warthogs, and more than a dozen species of antelope.” Now that Mozambique is free from Portuguese rule, and the national park has since ceased to be a battleground, more of the once-present species are making a return to the Great Rift Valley.

American businessman and philanthropist Greg Carr has been one of the individuals dedicated to the restoration of Gorongosa National Park and the admission of Mount Gorongosa into the park boundaries. He believes that preserving the Gorongosa ecosystem is a vitally important task the people of Mozambique and the world need to accomplish.

The biodiversity of this one area of land is incredible – 398 bird species, 122 mammals, 34 reptiles, and 43 amphibians call this ecosystem their home, along with “tens of thousands of species of insects, arachnids, and other invertebrates await[ing] discovery.”  The recovery process in the land of Gorongosa has been a definite success thus far.

With activists like Carr fighting for the diverse species, as well as for the livelihoods of the Gorongosa people, within and surrounding the Gorongosa National Park, hope thrives and multiplies with every passing day.

Reflection

I enjoyed reading this article about an uplifting environmental science service project happening in the world today. Many times, environmental science news stories depict the negative effects of pollution, poaching, disease, climate change, and habitat destruction. While all of these issues are necessary to read and learn from, I also enjoy reading a successful account of people “saving the world,” as well. I, like Carr, believe that national parks are a fundamental necessity in the preservation of natural wildlife. Without a large, government-supported and sectioned area of land, with an official title, name, and sponsors, most of the open land on this Earth would be hazed and devoid of life in a matter of weeks. National parks prevent the total domination of industrialization to monopolize on Mother Nature’s personal works of wonder. I have yet to visit many American national parks, let alone a national park in Mozambique, but I have many plans to travel the globe, once I successfully establish a career, and visit several national parks. The story of Mozambique’s Gorongosa comeback has definitely inspired me.

Wilson, Edward O. “The Rebirth of Gorongosa.” National Geographic June 2013: n. pag. Print.

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