Ennedi Natural and Cultural Reserve: Restoring a Functioning Sahelo-Saharan Ecosystem

Timeframe: 2021 // 2022
Country/Region: Chad
Partner: African Parks Network

The Ennedi Natural and Cultural Reserve (ENCR) in the northeast of Chad is a sandstone masterpiece in the Sahara desert, covering 50’000 km2 of rocky plateaus, herbaceous steppes, savannahs, ephemeral rivers and sand dunes. Its cliffs, canyons and natural archways have been sculpted by the Sahara over millennia. Despite the hostile nature of its environment, the biodiversity that occurs within this vast desert landscape is remarkable. Furthermore, the Ennedi Massif provides clean water, food and shelter to more than 30’000 semi-nomadic people who rely mostly on a pastoralist lifestyle for their survival. In 2016, the Ennedi Massif was placed on the UNESCO list of mixed – cultural and natural – sites of the World Heritage of Humanity.

Notwithstanding its beauty, the reserve is under severe threat, primarily from poaching and unsustainable farming practices. With this project, our partner, African Parks will continue to address the largely ignored and catastrophic wave of extinction threatening the large bird and mammal fauna in the Sahara and its bordering Sahelian grasslands. Through their activities in this and other parks in the region they aim at restoring a functional Sahelo-Saharan ecosystem.

Fondation Segré has previously supported this project in 2021 and renewed its contribution in 2022 to further support the efforts of African Parks to conserve the Sahelo-Saharan heritage and its archaeological value, respecting traditions and enabling key species to thrive. The project activities include:

  • Improve logistics and operations control at the reserve,
  • Increase the capacity for law enforcement to continue reducing illegal human activity in the reserve, and raising awareness about conservation among communities,
  • Monitor key species and habitats to adequately inform management decisions,
  • Finalise the inventory of 500 archaeology sites in order to identify the sites that need protection most.