February 26, 2024

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Partnering for conservation: Forgotten Parks Foundation joins African Parks Incubation Programme

Democratic Republic of Congo – Conservation non-profit organization Forgotten Parks Foundation (FPF) has signed an agreement to join the African Parks Incubation Programme. This programme stems from African Parks’ desire to invest in conservation practitioners who share its ambition to promote effectively managed protected areas through long-term management agreements.

African Parks is a non-profit conservation organisation that takes on the complete responsibility for the rehabilitation and long-term management of national parks in partnership with governments and local communities through a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) model. The Incubator Programme was developed as a partnership model whereby African Parks partners with other organisations through formalised agreements, to support them in more efficiently reaching their conservation objectives.

With a management contract from the Congolese Institute for Nature Conservation (ICCN) in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Forgotten Parks currently manages Upemba National Park, located in south-eastern DRC, stretching across three provinces; Haut-Katanga, Lualaba and Haut-Lomami. Upemba encompasses a diversity of habitats including a vast wetland along the western boundary on the shores of the Upemba lake, home to the last 200 remaining pure savannah elephants in DRC, and several types of forests. The landscape is one of the most spectacular in Central Africa, offering a diversity of scenic sightings and a vast number of waterfalls.

The Upemba National Park is a key biodiversity area in the Congo Basin. It is home to a wide variety of predators and large herbivores, including the only population of wild zebras in the DRC, the Lechwe of Upemba, sable and roan antelope and carnivores such as serval and leopard. Its flora also consists of unique vegetal species such as the African Drosera and its varieties. However, the park faces challenges such as animal poaching, illegal gold mining, and slash and burn practices in its peripheral areas. The management hopes that through the Incubation Programme, some of these challenges will be effectively overcome.

In the next 10 years, Forgotten Parks hopes to protect and rehabilitate the park’s wildlife and habitat back to healthy ecosystems, support those living in and around protected areas to become drivers of sustainable local green economies, and to bring back species that traditionally roamed these landscapes.

Incubation Programme participants receive guidance and advice on various sector from the development of management agreements with government partners to business structures, governance disciplines and best protected area management practices. Incubation is conducted on both an institutional and operational level, with the support and exchanges adapted to the partner’s own specific needs and circumstances. With Forgotten Parks and Upemba joining the programme, this brings the Incubation Programme to a total of six protected areas in five different countries under African Parks Incubation through four organisations and over four million hectares under management.

“We are delighted to welcome Forgotten Parks Foundation into our Incubation Programme. The organisation’s goals are closely aligned with what we at African Parks hope to achieve in protected spaces across Africa and the team shares our passion for protecting and rehabilitating wildlife and habitat back to healthy ecosystems. With every new partner that joins our incubation programme, we come closer to realising our shared vision of representing a geographic spread of protected areas and different ecoregions,” says Pierre-Armand Roulet, Incubation Programme Manager at African Parks.

“For Forgotten Parks Foundation, this Incubation Programme offers a great opportunity to receive guidance from a conservation organisation that has led the way in promoting the conservation model of delegated management. We believe that this mentorship and guidance will help us tremendously in securing a positive future for Upemba National Park as a thriving protected area that benefits both the animals in it and the communities living on its borders. We look forward to a long and beneficial engagement with the team at African Parks,” says Luc Gerard Nyafe, Chairman of Forgotten Parks DRC.

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