Upper Nile FloodPlains - South Sudan
Considered to have potential as a future World Heritage Site
Location and Area: As many as three separate sites may warrant inscription on the world heritage list, including Boma National Park, Badingilo National Park and parts of the Sudd wetlands (see map)
Inscription Status: Included on South Sudan’s draft Tentative List (2015)
Important Values: The ecological importance of the Upper Nile floodplains and swamps has long been recognised, but formal conservation programmes have been impossible during the many years of internal conflict that has plagued this region of Africa. Recently, the restoration of peace and birth of the new nation of South Sudan, has allowed confirmation of the continued existence of large mammal migrations rivalling those of Serengeti and sparked renewed interest in ensuring conservation of these outstanding natural phenomena and the attributes of the Upper Nile on which they depend. Boma National Park (which is nearly twice the size of Serengeti NP) protects much of the area involved in the mass migration of white-eared kob, while Badingilo National Park serves as a seasonal sanctuary for vaste herds of Tiang that move to its north. Meanwhile the Sudd swamps (much of which are protected within the Zeraf Game Reserve) cover an area twice the size of the Okavango Delta, supporting (amongst other iconic species) most of the world’s shoebill storks.
Slideshow of the Sudd Wetlands and Upper Nile Floodplains:
Slideshow description: The slideshow features a series of photos illustrating the outstanding wildlife of South Sudan. These have been compiled and edited from publicly-available material on www.flickr.com, (for which many thanks to all contributors!). The introductory photos show aerial views of a tightly-grouped migrating herd of tiang, followed by a series of photos of white-eared kob. These two species follow phenomenal long-distance migrations (over different areas) occupying core areas of Badingilo and Boma National Parks. The Sudd wetlands lie further north, and aerial views of some permanent swamps and seasonally-flooded areas studded with termitaria are shown, as well as a water-level view of the giant papyrus that seems to engulf each canoe-navigable channel. Some of the key species to be found in the Sudd are shown, including the extraordinary shoe-bill stork, as well as a group of Nile lechwe and herds of elephants. An aerial view of an oil industry installation provides a sobering reminder of the threats facing most of the key wildlife areas of South Sudan. The slideshow finishes with aerial views of Boma and Badingilo National Parks, and the abundant herds of large mammals (antelope, elephants and giraffe) still occurring in these globally-important protected areas.
Possible constraints to world heritage listing: World heritage status could help support conservation efforts in these globally important areas but the economic development challenges facing this new nation are immense and the prospects of oil and re-instatement of the Jonglei Canal project to drain the swamps are very real threats.
Links: Google Earth | Birdlife IBA (Boma) (Sudd)