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IUCN Management Category II and IX (National Park and Biosphere Reserve)
Biogeographical Province 3.04.04 (West African Woodland/savanna)
Geographical Location Near Lake Chad (Ndjamena) in the Department of Logone and Chari, Northern Province. 90km south of Kousseri. 11°00'-11°30'N, 14°30'-14°75'E.
Date and History of Establishment 5 December 1968 as Parc national de Waza by Arrête No. 120. Established 24 March 1934 (Arrête No. 71) as a hunting reserve with the name of Zina-Waza. Enlarged from 155,000ha to 165,000ha by Arrête No. 264 of 9 September 1935, and then raised to the level of forest and faunal reserve by Arrête No. 297 of 30 July 1938. Approved as a biosphere reserve in May 1979.
Land Tenure Government
Altitude Average 300-320m, rising to 500m
Physical Features The park lies in the Chad depression in an area of low relief with no permanent rivers. Part of the area was once covered by Lake Chad. Sand dunes in the west indicate that this area was once desert. The rocky outcrops around Waza village rise to over 500m and are probably fairly important, having effects on soil formation and temperature buffering in particular. Soils are mainly ferruginous tropical with various catenas, hydromorphic soils and vertisols. The climate of the region is semi-arid, with a dry season is from October to May. Rainfall is irregular, with an annual mean of 700mm. Mean annual temperature is 28°C. December is coolest, with mean monthly minimum of 16°C and maximum of 33°C. April, just before the rains, has a mean monthly minimum of 21°C and maximum of 41°C.
Climate No information
Vegetation There are five main vegetation types: (1) Open combretaceous shrub savanna with Sclerocarya birrea tree savanna, Combretum and Terminalia shrubs and stands of palm Hyphaene thebaica. The soil is sandy, with a sparse ground cover, burnt annually to prevent late accidental fires which are difficult to control. (2) Anogeissus leiocarpus woodland on sandy soil with absence of young trees due to annual fires. (3) Lannea humilis open grass savanna with short annual grasses, sparse trees and stands of Mitragyna inermis forming small islands around temporary waterholes. The soil is compact clay, which is very saline due to high evaporation. (4) Acacia seyal tree savanna on black clay soils which are saturated with water in the rainy season. Perennial grasses are absent. This vegetation type is slowly spreading as the area gradually dries out. (5) Yaéré floodplains with perennial grasses such as Vetiveria nigritana, Oryza barthii, Echinochloa pyramidalis and E. stagnina and some herbaceous legumes including Sesbania pachycarpa. Trees are absent and fires common. The floodplains are vital to the carrying capacity of the Waza region as the perennial grasses last long into the dry season.
Fauna The fauna is rich and varied with large numbers of giraffe Giraffa camelopardalis (increasing with the spread of Acacia woodland), elephant Loxodonta africana (T), aardvark Orycteropus afer, warthog Phacochoerus aethiopicus, hyena Hyaena hyaena, lion Panthera leo, red-fronted gazelle Gazella rufifrons, waterbuck Kobus ellipsiprymnus, kob K. kob, topi Damaliscus lunatus, roan antelope Hippotragus equinus, some impala Aepyceros melampus (once common at Waza), vervet monkey Cercopithecus aethiops, patas monkey Erythrocebus patas, and olive baboon Papio anubis. Leopard Panthera pardus (T) and cheetah Acinonyx jubatus (T) are present but their current status is uncertain. Towards the end of the dry season, many animals move onto the Chari (Yaéré) plains. There is a diverse avifauna including ostrich Struthio camelus, ground hornbill Bucorvus abyssinicus, bateleur Terathopius ecaudatus, white-faced tree duck Dendrocygna arborea, Abyssinian roller Coracias abyssinica, standard-winged nightjar Macrodipteryx longipennis and guinea fowl Numida meleagris.
Cultural Heritage No information
Local Human Population No information
Visitors and Visitor Facilities Visitor facilities are good. There is a hotel on the park boundary and park wardens accompany tourists in the park. There is no access on foot.
Scientific Research and Facilities Work by the Wildlife College at Garoua is supported by FAO/UNDP and the African Wildlife Foundation. Research has included ecological studies, population counts of several animal species and studies on elephant migration in the park. The park serves as a reference area for the MAB Cameroon Project on the integrated management of North Cameroon.
Wildlife College at Garoua (about 350km away).
Conservation Value No information
Conservation Management Total
Two main zones can be visited from November to May according to the flood season and animal migrations.
There is currently reported to be no management plan, though FAO/UNDP carried out a lot of work in Waza in the mid-1970s under a project to assist the Cameroon government in management and development of the parks of the savanna zone. This work is drawn by Vanpraet (1977) who makes a wide variety of comments and recommendations on park development and management. Control of poaching, bushfires and tree cutting is carried out by park wardens. Public education films have been shown in the park by Wildlife Clubs of Cameroon as part of IUCN/WWF Project 1317.
Management Constraints Water continues to be one of the most serious problems for Waza. Since the drought of 1972/1973, when some 2,500 Buffon kob and eight giraffe died, rainfall has been low. Also the periodic inundation of the yaéré has been prevented by construction of the Maga Dam 25km south of the park (which blocks the Tsanaga, Guirleo and Logone Rivers) and by the digging of irrigation dykes along the Logone River. This effectively reduces the carrying capacity of the park as a whole, despite the provision and maintenance of waterholes. Poaching is reported to be extensive due mainly to the proximity of relatively unguarded borders with Nigeria and Chad. Regeneration of Sclerocarya vegetation in the scrub savannah area is poor due to burning and damage by elephants. Elephants also destroy some tree savannah. Some important dry season watering places and grazing lands are outside the park boundary and controlled by pastoral tribes. There are some villages in the park.
Staff 25 guard staff
Department of Wildlife and National Parks, General Delegation of Tourism. Secretariat Permanent, Comité National de l'Homme et de la Biosphère, BP 4742, Yaoundé.
Biosphere Reserve nomination submitted to Unesco.
Esser, J.D. and Van Lavierez, L.P. (1978). Recensement aérien des populations des grands ongulés et d'autruches du parc national de Waza.
IUCN/WWF Project 1317. Wildlife Clubs.
IUCN/WWF Project 1613. Primate Action Fund.
Leblay, J.R. (1976). Assistance aux parcs nationaux de la zone de savane du Cameroun. Amélioration et mise en profil des pistes dans le Parc national de Waza. FO: SF/CMR/72/025 Document de Terrain No. 5. FAO, Rome.
Ngog Nje, J. (1981). L'ecologie de la girafe au parc national de Waza. Ph.D. thesis. Paris.
Ngog Nje, J. (1983). Structure et dynamique de la population de girafes au parc national de Waza. La Terre et la Vie 3.
Van Lavieren, L.P. (1977). Rapport sur le dénombrement aérien des grands mammiféres du Parc National de Waza. Ecole de Faune de Garoua.
Vanpraet, C.L. (1977). Assistance aux parcs nationaux de la zone de savane du Cameroun. L'écologie et l'aménagement du Parc national de Waza. FO: DP/CMR/72/025, Rapport technique 1. FAO, Rome.
Vanpraet, C.L. (1976). Assistance aux parcs nationaux de la zone de savane du Cameroun. Changements écologiques dans le bassin du Logone et quelques conséquences sur l'écosystème du Parc national de Waza. FO: DSF/CMR/72/025 Document de travail 2. FAO, Rome.
Wit, P. (1975). Assistance aux parcs nationaux de la zone de savane du Cameroun. Preliminary notes on the vegetation of Waza National Park with map. FO: SF/CMR/72/005 Project Working Document No. 1. FAO, Rome.
Wit, P. Some notes on the Vegetation of Waza National Park, Cameroon. Ecole pour la formation des specialistes de la fauna, Garoua 4 pp. (Based on a FAO study 1974/1975).
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Revision date: 11-December-2000 | Current date: 14-December-2000