The wildlife of South Sudan refers to the natural flora and fauna of South Sudan. South Sudan includes the Sudd, one of the world's largest wetlands. According to the American biologist and conservationist, J. Michael Fay, South Sudan "could present the biggest migration of large mammals on earth", while Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) reports southeast Sudan has a migration of 1.3 million antelopes. The region has a low density human population, with approximately 7 million people spread over approximately 619,745Â km2 (239,285Â sqÂ mi).
Bird species recorded in the flooded grasslands of Southern Sudan are the black crowned crane (Balearica pavonina), pink-backed pelican (Pelecanus rufescens), cattle egret (Bubulcus ibis) and saddle-billed stork (Ephippiorhynchus senegalensis).
In 2005, the Wildlife Conservation Society, an international NGO, established a collaborative project with the Government of Southern Sudan to create a workforce for the purpose for specific projects. The first initiative undertaken in 2007 was an aerial survey to assess the wildlife population in Southern Sudan.
The UNEP has concluded that putting an end to bushmeat hunting is not workable, and proposed the establishment of a system of sustainable harvesting that would involve the local communities who would have the major responsibility caring for these resources.
The total area under protection is around 143,000Â km2 (55,000Â sqÂ mi) spread over 23 protected areas which account for 15% of the South Sudanese territory. The largest protected area is the Sudd Wetland, which is an important bird life area covering 57,000Â km2 (22,000Â sqÂ mi). It is also a Ramsar Site with over 400 bird species, 100 mammal species, and 100 fish species. Many of the protected areas are exploited for illegal hunting and rearing of livestock.
South Sudanâs protected areas are in the flood plains of the Nile River. The habitat predominantly comprises grasslands, high-altitude plateaus and escarpments, wooded and grassy savannas, floodplains and wetlands. Some of the other protected areas are the Boma National Park in the Boma-Jonglei Landscape region, an oil rich area on the eastern border with Ethiopia; the Southern National Park bordering Democratic Republic of the Congo; the Bandingilo National Park (including Mongalla)â"8,400Â km2 (3,200Â sqÂ mi); Nimule National Parkâ"410Â km2 (160Â sqÂ mi); and Shambe National Park, an important bird areaâ"620Â km2 (240Â sqÂ mi).
There are several protected game reserves. The Ez Zeraf Game Reserve (9,700Â km2 (3,700Â sqÂ mi)) is located in the expansive swamplands and the seasonally flooded grasslands. Other game reserves are: Ashana Game Reserveâ"900Â km2 (350Â sqÂ mi); Bengangai Game Reserve, an important bird areaâ"170Â km2 (66Â sqÂ mi); Bire Kpatuos Game Reserveâ"5,000Â km2 (1,900Â sqÂ mi); Chelkou Game Reserveâ"5,500Â km2 (2,100Â sqÂ mi); Fanikang Game Reserve (part of Ramsar Site)â"480Â km2 (190Â sqÂ mi); Juba Game Reserveâ"200Â km2 (77Â sqÂ mi); Kidepo Game Reserveâ"1,200Â km2 (460Â sqÂ mi); Mbarizunga Game Reserveâ"10Â km2 (3.9Â sqÂ mi); and Numatina Game Reserveâ"2,100Â km2 (810Â sqÂ mi).
Other protected areas include
- Imatong Mountains, an important bird and natural conservation areaâ"1,000Â km2 (390Â sqÂ mi)
- Lake Ambadi, a natural conservation areaâ"1,500Â km2 (580Â sqÂ mi)
- Lake No, a natural conservation areaâ"1,000Â km2 (390Â sqÂ mi).
There are at least three proposed protected areas: Lantoto National Parkâ"760Â km2 (290Â sqÂ mi), Mashra Game Reserveâ"4,500Â km2 (1,700Â sqÂ mi), and Boro Game Reserveâ"1,500Â km2 (580Â sqÂ mi).
Bushmeat is cheaper than beef, fish or chicken in many wildlife areas of South Sudan, and hence is exploited as a food source and also for trading. As a result, wild animals such as white-eared kob, tiang and Mongalla gazelle are hunted in large numbers (according to an evaluation of results from a sample survey of a few villages in the Boma National Park). This has created pressure on the wildlife of the park that necessitates effective conservation measures. Internal wars which lasted for two decades have also been a cause for lack of effective management of the protected areas. Even though the military control of the area provided some degree of protection, hunting for bushmeat continued. The wildlife protection forces were reported to be hardly adequate considering the large number of protected areas which has resulted in extensive exploitation of wildlife by poaching; extensive surveys carried out in the Boma National Park confirmed this situation. Another factor that poses threat to wildlife in South Sudan is encroachment on the savannah land areas for cultivation.
Planned development activities, particularly those for roads in the protected areas, are infringing on the migration routes of the white-eared kob. Wildlife rangers (a force of 7,300 men which was created from the disbanded armed men after the conflict ended, as of 2006) are also in conflict with the local pastoralists and poachers; this has been particularly noted in the Boma National Park.
The Wildlife Conservation Directorate of the Government of South Sudan (GOSS) and the Ministry of Environment, Wildlife Conservation and Tourism share the mandate for the management of the wildlife and the protected areas South Sudan. As of 2011, there is no legislation on wildlife and protected area management from GOSS as, although there is some funding available, the fledgling government departments suffer from shortages of facilities, materials and skilled workers. A Commission on Wildlife set up by the Sudan People's Liberation Movement had formerly provided some direction to areas under its control.
- UNEP. "Wildlife and Protected Area Management" (PDF). Retrieved 1 August 2011.Â