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Re: [Gabon Discussion] Lekedi Park

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  • bobutne
    Thanks Carol. As President Bongo is reaching his twilight years, he appears more concerned with his legacy. Accumulating power and wealth is a game he has
    Message 1 of 2 , Aug 24, 2003
      Thanks Carol. As President Bongo is reaching his twilight years, he
      appears more concerned with his legacy. Accumulating power and wealth
      is a game he has already won. The others are more difficult and more
      challenging. Let's hope that for the sake of all Gabonese that he
      adopts similar policies to cherish, to protect, and to develop
      Gabon's human resources.

      --- In gabondiscussion@yahoogroups.com, "C Yombi" <c_yombi@h...>
      wrote:
      > Bob,
      > Thanks for keeping us informed about these important developments
      in the
      > future of Gabon's emerging eco-tourist industry and environmental
      saving
      > grace - the park system. I guess as bad as Bongo can be, he is
      leaving a
      > promising future for the next generation at least as far as the
      forests are
      > concerned. Let's just hope Gabon continues down the right track.
      >
      > Carol
      >
      > >From: "bobutne" <bobutne@a...>
      > >Reply-To: gabondiscussion@yahoogroups.com
      > >To: gabondiscussion@yahoogroups.com
      > >Subject: [Gabon Discussion] Lekedi Park
      > >Date: Sat, 23 Aug 2003 13:25:47 -0000
      > >
      > >Bakouma - Gabon is turning a former industrial facility - a
      gigantic
      > >76km cableway that once carried manganese ore to Atlantic ports for
      > >export to world markets - into Africa's most unusual nature
      reserve.
      > >
      > >The Lekedi park, close to Gabon's southern border with the Republic
      > >of Congo, is a larger-than-life experiment in preserving the
      > >environment while providing a living to local inhabitants through
      > >agricultural production and tourism.
      > >
      > >From the 1960s to the early 1990s, about 1 800 people worked here
      > >maintaining the cableway, which carried the ore from mines at
      Moanda
      > >to the Congolese town of M'Binda. From there, the ore was taken by
      > >rail to the Congolese port of Pointe-Noire.
      > >
      > >But the opening of the 800km trans-Gabon railroad made the cableway
      > >redundant. Since 1986, the manganese ore, which is used in the
      > >production of steel, batteries and ceramics, has been taken
      straight
      > >to port in the capital, Libreville.
      > >
      > >This left the mining company, Comilog, with the problem of what to
      do
      > >with the old cableway and the rain forest it traverses.
      > >
      > >"After a lot of thought, Comilog came up with a project to preserve
      > >the environment, allied with development of agricultural production
      > >and tourism," said Olivier Dosimont, the operations director.
      > >
      > >"It was a long and difficult process. We started by fencing off the
      > >entire 14 000ha of the park. Our idea was to encourage the
      extensive
      > >breeding of big game and protect it from poachers."
      > >
      > >This policy has met with varying degrees of success.
      > >
      > >Imported animals such as impalas and antelopes have not flourished,
      > >but local species are doing well, including buffalo, wildebeest and
      > >harnessed bushbucks.
      > >
      > >The park has also become a home for the world's largest and most
      > >colourful monkeys, the mandrills with their faces of brilliant red
      > >and white.
      > >
      > >Mandrills, which are increasingly endangered with the human
      invasion
      > >of the rain forest, are found in the wild only in Gabon, the Congo
      > >and Cameroon. Gorillas have also established a foothold in the
      Lekedi
      > >park.
      > >
      > >Comilog also sought to find other jobs for about 100 employees of
      the
      > >old cableway who have remained on the site. A former engineer is in
      > >charge of fish-farming, and another raises mushrooms.
      > >
      > >The fish farm provides about 45% of the income of Sodepal, the
      > >subsidiary company set up to run the park.
      > >
      > >The company also has experimented with the breeding of large
      rodents
      > >called aulacodes, which are related to the porcupine and are
      > >considered a tasty dish in West Africa, and is encouraging the
      > >development of traditional crafts such as pottery and raffia
      weaving.
      > >
      > >"We are trying to teach people the advantages of rearing animals
      over
      > >hunting them," Dosimont said. "But nature is generous and the idea
      is
      > >slow in catching on."
      > >
      > >Despite all these activities, the park still makes a loss. Dosimont
      > >says that if air fares were lower, more tourists - which is what
      the
      > >park really needs - would be encouraged to come to Gabon.
      > >
      > >http://www.news24.com/News24/Africa/Features/0,,2-11-
      > >37_1405587,00.html
      > >
      > >
      >
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