News / Africa

Central Africa Region Named World Heritage Site

Apes in the Sangha Tri-National Protected Area. (Thomas Breeuer / WCS)Apes in the Sangha Tri-National Protected Area. (Thomas Breeuer / WCS)
x
Apes in the Sangha Tri-National Protected Area. (Thomas Breeuer / WCS)
Apes in the Sangha Tri-National Protected Area. (Thomas Breeuer / WCS)
Joe DeCapua
A region in Central Africa with some of the last great populations of forest elephants, gorillas and chimpanzees has been declared a U.N. World Heritage Site. It consists of about 25,000 square kilometers spanning the Republic of Congo, Cameroon and Central African Republic.

It’s called the Sangha Tri-National Protected Area complex, also known by the French acronym TNS. It’s formed by three contiguous national parks that are linked by the Sangha River.

Wild Heart

James Deutsch, director of the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Africa Program, calls the World Heritage Site the “wild heart of the Congo Basin Rainforest.”

“The Sangha Tri-National is one of only two or three areas left in the Congo Basin Rainforest that is physically intact in terms of both the forest cover and the trees. But more importantly also still has all of the wildlife populations, all of the different species for which the Congo Basin is so well known – elephants and gorillas and chimpanzees. And by many measures this area is really the most intact remaining large expanse of rainforest in Africa,” he said.

De Capua report on World Heritage Site
De Capua report on World Heritage Sitei
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X


The Congo Basin is the world’s second largest rainforest after the Amazon.

Deutsch said that giving the TNS World Heritage Site status does several things.

“Probably most importantly, it commits the three countries – Cameroon, Congo-Brazzaville and the Central African Republic – to cherishing this area and helping to protect it in perpetuity. For any country, as that country faces the various trade-offs between industrial development and conservation, that kind of commitment is hugely important,” he said.

Poachers, loggers and HIV

But despite being a protected area consisting of national parks and now a World Heritage Site, the complex still faces threats.

Deutsch said, “Probably the most urgent threat that has really accelerated in the last few years has been elephant poaching because of an increase in demand for ivory in Asia and an increase in organized crime’s involvement in elephant poaching and ivory trafficking.”

Another major challenge facing the TNS is balancing conservation with the demand for commercial logging.

“The big problem with logging, with selective logging in particular, is that it opens up access to the forest to people to go in and remove the wildlife species,” he said.

However, when people go into places where humans do not normally tread, diseases can come out and affect the entire world.

“This exact area is, according to experts, the area where HIV made the jump from chimpanzees to humans sometime around a hundred years ago, probably as a result of people hunting chimps. It’s also very near the focal area for the Ebola virus, which of course is hugely harmful to people, in fact lethal in 70, 80 percent of cases. And we don’t know what other pathogens, what other viruses and other potential diseases lurk in the forest and in the wildlife in the forest,” he said.

Deutsch says achieving World Heritage Site status for the Tri-National Protected Area complex took many years of hard work by the three countries, various governments and many groups and individuals. He adds it means the TNS is a world treasure.

You May Like

US Firms Concerned About China's New Cyber Regulations

New rules would require technology companies doing business in financial sector to hand over their source code, adopt Chinese encryption algorithms More

WHO Focus on Ebola Shifts to Ending Outbreak

Focus to be less on building facilities and more on efforts to find infected people, manage their cases, engage with communities and ensure proper burials More

US Scientist Who Conceived of Groundbreaking Laser Technology Dies

Charles Townes, Nobel laureate, laser co-creator paved way for other scientific discoveries: CDs, eye surgery, metal cutters to name a few technologies that rely on lasers More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Webi
X
January 29, 2015 9:58 AM
Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Web

Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Freedom on Decline Worldwide, Report Says

The state of global freedom declined for the ninth consecutive year in 2014, according to global watchdog Freedom House's annual report released Wednesday. VOA's William Gallo has more.
Video

Video As Ground Shifts, Obama Reviews Middle East Strategy

The death of Saudi Arabia’s king, the collapse of a U.S.-friendly government in Yemen and a problematic relationship with Israel’s leadership are presenting a new set of complications for the Obama administration and its Middle East policy. Not only is the U.S. leader dealing with adversaries in Iran, the Islamic State and al-Qaida, but he is now juggling trouble with traditional allies, as White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video MRI Seems to Help Diagnose Prostate Cancer, Preliminary Study Shows

Just as with mammography used to detect breast cancer, there's a lot of controversy about tests used to diagnose prostate cancer. Fortunately, a new study shows doctors may now have a more reliable way to diagnose prostate cancer for high risk patients. More from VOA's Carol Pearson.
Video

Video Smartphones About to Make Leap, Carry Basic Senses

Long distance communication contains mostly sounds and pictures. For now. But scientists in Britain say they are close to creating additions for our smartphones that will make it possible to send taste, smell and even a basic touch. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Saved By a Mistake - an Auschwitz Survivor's Story

Dagmar Lieblova was 14 when she arrived at Auschwitz in December 1943, along with her entire Czech Jewish family. All of them were to die there, but she was able to leave after several months due to a bureaucratic mix-up which saved her life. Now 85, with three children and six grandchildren, she says she has a feeling of victory. This report by Ahmad Wadiei and Farin Assemi, of RFE/RL's Radio Farda is narrated by RFE’s Raymond Furlong.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid