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

Timeframe: 2021
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.

Funding from Fondation Segré will be used to help address the most significant threats to the reserve by :

  • improving logistics and operations control,
  • increasing the capacity for law enforcement,
  • monitoring key species and habitats to adequately inform management decisions,
  • developing a unit tasked with the conservation of the archaeological sites in the reserve,
  • actively build a local constituency in support of budding tourism development by combining children schooling and women alphabetisation and providing alternative livelihoods for communities.