Badlands National Park – United States

Badlands National Park  United States   National parks of the United States South  Dakota Postcard   National parks of the world bad lands   badlands  national park  American National Parks  South Dakota National Park   South Dakota Badlands    national parks service dinosaurs fossils black-footed ferret  endangered animals   Paleontology  prehistoric animals Oligocene epoch  Paleontologists saber-toothed cat  Oglala Lakota   Pine Ridge Indian Reservation badlands national park wildlife

Badlands National Park

Badlands, National Monument South Dakota Souvenir Postcard Mailer cropped

Badlands National Park is located in southwest South Dakota, east of the Black Hills. Established first as Badlands National Monument in 1929; these eroded buttes, pinnacles and spires tower over the largest protected mixed grass prairie in the United States. In 1978, Badlands became a national park, containing over 242,000 acres of uniquely scenic geology. Badlands National Park is marked by rugged terrain and rock formations resembling landscapes from another world. Millions of years of wind, water and erosion have painted a colorful landscape on the prairies of southwestern South Dakota that is now called Badlands National Park.

Amazingly beautiful, yet mystical, the Badlands received their name from the Lakota Sioux tribe and French fur trappers. The Lakota first referred to this place as “Mako Sica”. Later, French trappers would called the area “les mauvaises terres a traverser”. Both of these names are translated into English as “bad lands”, or “a difficult place cross”.

Visitors can explore Badlands National Park on foot, on horseback or by car, traveling the scenic loop or roaming the many trails that run through this South Dakota natural wonder. Badlands National Park is one of the United States’ largest protected mixed grass prairies. Badlands National Park is home to many animal species including American bison, prairie dogs, bighorn sheep, coyotes, wild turkeys, mule deer, antelope, swift fox and the endangered black-footed ferret.
More than 64,000 acres of the most pristine sections of Badlands National Park have designated as a wilderness area and are managed by the National Park Service. The Badlands Wilderness, was designated by Congress in 1976. Located entirely within Badlands National Park, Badlands Wilderness is a place where buffalo and other wildlife still roam free. It is also a sanctuary for the black-footed ferret, one of the most endangered mammals in North America, which has been reintroduced into Badlands Wilderness.

Badlands National Park also contains one of the world’s richest deposits of fossils. The remains of many prehistoric animals from the Oligocene epoch can be found in Badlands National Park. Over the years, paleontologists have found the remains of ancient three-toed horses, small deer-like mammals, prehistoric turtles, saber-toothed cats and other prehistoric animals in the national park area.

Approximately half of Badlands National Park lies within the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation and the national park contains several sites that are considered sacred to the Oglala Lakota. The Stronghold Unit of Badlands National Park is one such site. In the late 1800s, Sioux Indians performed their Ghost Dances at this site. The National Park Service and the tribe co-manage this part of the national park, commonly known as the South Unit. This area of the park is mostly undeveloped, with minimal access by road. Those seeking extreme adventure can hike through this wilderness to get a more intimate view of Badlands National Park.

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Nyungwe National Park – Rwanda

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Nyungwe National Park

– Rwanda

Nyungwe rainforest, one of the best preserved rainforests in Central Africa, is located in the Albertine Rift Mountains, between the basins of Africa’s two great rivers, the Congo River and the Nile River. Within the Nyungwe rainforest of southwestern Rwanda, lies Nyungwe National Park. Originally set aside as a reserve in 1933, and then established as a national park in 2004, Nyungwe National Park is Africa’s largest protected mountain rainforest, covering nearly one thousand square kilometers. Nyungwe National Park is contiguous with Kibira National Park in neighboring Burundi. Mount Bigugu is the highest point in the Nyungwe National Park reaching an altitude of nearly 3,000 kilometers. Nyungwe National Park includes rainforest, bamboo, grassland, swamp, and bog habitats.

The variety of terrestrial habitats in Nyungwe National Park supports many different species of plants and animals. The national park’s great biodiversity makes it a priority for wildlife conservation efforts in Africa. Nyungwe National Park contains nearly 1,100 species of plants, more than 200 species of trees, more than 100 species of orchid and many other beautiful flowering plants such as giant lobelia and wild begonia. Nyungwe National Park is home to about 300 bird species, 85 mammal species, 13 of the 64 species of primates found in Africa, and about 70 species of amphibians and reptiles. Nyungwe National Park also contains many endemic species of animals. The presence of colonies of chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) also makes Nyungwe National Park a special place for both wildlife conservationists and park visitors. This primate species, considered the closest living relative to human beings, is endangered due to loss of habitat and hunting associated with the expanding human activity in the chimpanzee’s range. The chimpanzee population in Rwanda is estimated to be around 500 individuals, with most of these chimpanzees found in and around Nyungwe national park.

Some of the species of primates found in Nyungwe National Park include the Chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes), Olive Baboon (Papio anubis), Adolf Friedrich’s Angola Colobus (Colobus angolensis), Golden Monkey (Cercopithecus kandti), L’Hoest’s Monkey (Cercopithecus l’hoesti), Silver Monkey (Cercopithecus doggetti), Dent’s Mona Monkey (Cercopithecus denti), Hamlyn’s Monkey (Cercopithecus hamlyni), Red-tailed Monkey (Cercopithecus ascanius), Grey-cheeked Mangabey (Lophocebus albigena), Vervet Monkey (Chlorocebus pygerythrus), Potto (Perodicticus potto), and several species of Bushbabies (also known as Galagos).

Some of the species of birds that are seen in Nyungwe National Park include great blue turaco (Corythaeola cristata), White and black-casqued Hornbill (Bycanistes subcylindricus) sometimes called the Grey-cheeked Hornbill, blue-headed sunbird (Cyanomitra alinae), purple-breasted Sunbird (Nectarinia purpureiventris), Ruwenzori turaco (Ruwenzorornis johnstoni), yellow-eyed black flycatcher (Melaenornis ardesiacus), black-headed paradise flycatcher (Terpsiphone rufiventer), African golden oriole (Oriolus auratus), red-throated alethe (Pseudalethe poliophrys), Chubb’s Cisticola (Cisticola chubbi), African green pigeon (Treron calvus), Ross’s turaco (Musophaga rossae), rufous-breasted sparrowhawk (Accipiter rufiventris), and white-headed wood hoopoe (Phoeniculus bollei). There are also 26 endemic species of bird in Nyungwe National Park, such as the Grauer’s rush warbler (Bradypterus graueri).

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Conkouati-Douli National Park – Republic of Congo

National Parks of Africa  mandrill  Mandrillus sphinx   National Parks of the World   Conkouati-Douli National Park  Primates of Africa  Republic of Congo mammals of Africa African gorillas Gorilla gorilla  Congo Jungle African chimpanzee Pan troglodytes endangered species African forest exotic wild animals ape baboon wildlife conservation African wildlife National Parks of the Republic of Congo

Conkouati-Douli National Park

The Conkouati-Douli National Park a coastal national park in the Republic of the Congo. Although the Conkouati-Douli National Park was formally established in 1999; the area of this national park has been part of an active area of conservation since at least 1980. Conkouati-Douli National Park is managed by the Ministry for National Forestry Commission in partnership with the Wildlife Conservation Society. Conkouati-Douli National Park covers an area of 1.2 million acres and is located along the border between the Republic of Congo and Gabon.

Conkouati-Douli National Park conservation area has three zones: At the center is a protected zone, the main area of the national park, that is only legally accessible to park staff, guided paying tourists and researchers with valid permits. The second zone is an ecodevelopment zone where the people living in the zone are allowed to use natural resources in a sustainable way for subsitence and even industrial exploitation is allowed with the agreement of the government. The third zone is five kilometer buffer zone surrounding the other zones of the national park that is target for environmental education. and includes the only marine protected area in Congo.

The park is largely made up of dense forests with wetlands, floodplain forests and lagoons; however, savannahs are found in the southwest and northeast corners with the Noumbi River flowing through the national park.

Conkouati-Douli National Park is the most biodiverse park in the Republic of Congo. The Conkouati-Douli National Park is home to the Congo forests including African forest elephant, African buffalo, gorillas, leopard, Chimpanzees, bushpig, sitatunga and mandrill. Conkouati-Douli National Park has nearly 8,000 chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes), about 2,000 Western lowland gorillas (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) and some 1,000 forest elephants (Loxodonta africana cyclotis). Conkouati-Douli National Park is also a RAMSAR site because of its important migratory and wetland bird habitat. The beaches of the Conkouati-Douli National Park are amongst the most important in the world for the nesting of leatherback turtles (Dermochelys coriacea) and five other species of marine turtles. This marine national park has a group of around 50 humpback dolphins (Sousa teuzsi).

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National Parks on Postage Stamps – Part 2

Glacier National Park Stamp   national parks       United States 2012 85c glacier national park postage stamp   scott-c149  United States National Parks

Glacier National Park

National Parks Postage Stamps

Glacier National Park United States Postage Stamp
2012 – 85 cent – Scott-C149

This international rate postage stamp showcases Montana’s beautiful Glacier National Park, with majestic peaks of the Northern Rocky Mountains in the background. Glacier National Park is often described as one of the most stunning national parks in the United States. Glacier National Park was established on May 11, 1910.

The stamp image shows Logan Pass, the highest point on Glacier National Park’s spectacular Going-to-the-Sun Road. Peaks of the Northern Rocky Mountains fill the photo’s background. In the foreground, melting snowbanks reveal a lush meadow dusted with wildflowers.

This beautiful national park is named for the glaciers that sculpted the landscape more than 10,000 years ago and for the Little Ice Age glaciers there today. Glacier National Park preserves more than a million acres of rugged peaks and valleys, alpine meadows, spectacular lakes, and dense forest. Glacier National Park is a haven for wildlife with nearly 300 species of birds and more than 60 species of mammals, including the bald eagle(Haliaeetus leucocephalus), wolverine(Gulo gulo), lynx(Lynx canadensis), mountain goat(Oreamnos americanus), bighorn sheep(Ovis canadensis), and wolf(Canis lupus).

The Glacier National Park stamp was designed by art director Ethel Kessler and features the photograph by nature photographer Michael Melford.

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Yasuni National Park – Ecuador

CAPYBARA (Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris)

CAPYBARA (Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris)

Yasuni National Park

Ecuador’s Amazon rainforest contains some of the planet’s most bio-diverse ecosystems and are home to thousands of indigenous people who have lived there for millennia. Yasuni National Park is Ecuador’s largest national park covering nearly 2.4 million acres (962,000 hectares) of tropical rainforest. Yasuni National Park lies south of the Río Napo, on Ecuador’s northeastern border with Peru. Yasuni National Park is drained by hundreds of lakes, streams, and rivers, including the Yasuni, Tiputini, and Shiripuno, all of which ultimately flow into the Río Napo. Wildlife in the Yasuni National Park, includes the jaguar(Panthera onca), tapir(Tapirus terrestris), capybara(Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris), giant river otter(Pteronura brasiliensis), Amazon River dolphin (Inia geoffrensis), anaconda (Eunectes murinus), over 100 species of bats, 120 additional reptile species, 150 amphibian species, nearly 600 bird species, nearly 400 species of fish and over 100,000 different species of insects. Yasuni National Park is clearly one of the most biologically diverse places on Earth. Yasuni National Park also is home to 43 endemic species of vertebrates and 220–720 endemic plant species

Yasuni National Park is only about 250 kilometers from Ecuador’s Capital city Quito. In 1989, Yasuni National Park was designated a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Yasuni National Park contains at least three indigenous including the Huaorani, the Tagaeri and the Taromenane.

Until 1956, the Huaorani had never had any contact with the outside world. Up until the recent past, Huaorani were able to protect their culture and territorial lands from other indigenous tribes, missionaries, and other settlers. However, over the last 50 years, many of the Huaorani have shifted from a hunting and gathering society to live mostly in permanent forest settlements.

There are still some Huaorani who have rejected all contact with the outside world and continue to move into more isolated areas. For them, the rainforest is their entire world, while outside the rainforest is considered unsafe. The Huaorani have a vast knowledge of the animals and plants of the rainforest, which stems from a total reliance on the forest to provide all of their worldly needs. Historically, the Huaorani are both skilled hunters and feared warriors.

Surinam Coral Snake  Micrurus surinamensis - Elapidae

The anaconda and the jaguar are never hunted by the Huaorani because these animals have special significance in the spiritual beliefs of the Huaorani. Snakes are considered an evil force in the Huaorani cosmology, particularly the anaconda, or obe. The Huaorani believe that a giant obe stands in the way of the forest trail that the dead follow to an afterlife with the creator in the sky. Those among the dead who cannot escape the giant obe fail to enter the domain of dead spirits and return to Earth as animals. In general, snakes are a bad omen, and traditionally killing them is considered taboo. In contrast, Huaorani shaman identify with the jaguar spiritually. In the Huaorani belief system, a jaguar shaman is able to become or interact with the jaguar, and during this process the shaman can telepathically travel through time and distance and communicate with other shaman anywhere.

National Parks of South America  Yasuni National Park    Ecuador's biggest national park     Jaguar   Yasuni  Ecuador  National Parks of the World

Currently, the Yasuni National Park is at the heart of an international controversy. The Yasuni-ITT Initiative was the Ecuadorian government proposal to refrain indefinitely from exploiting the oil reserves of the Ishpingo-Tambococha-Tiputini (ITT) oil field within the Yasuni National Park, in exchange for 50% of the value of the reserves, or $3.6 billion over 13 years from the international community. At the time, the plan was hailed by environmentalists as a precedent setting decision that would reduce the burden of environmental preservation on the world’s poorer countries. Countries such as Turkey, Chile, Colombia, Georgia, Australia, Spain and Belgium agreed to contribute funds. However, in 2013, Ecuador’s President Correa, through an executive order, liquidated the Yasuni-ITT trust fund formally ending the initiative. Citing poor follow through from the international community as the reason for scrapping the Yasuni-ITT Initiative; President Correa stated “The world has failed us”. President Correa called the world’s richest countries hypocrites who emit most of the world’s greenhouse gases while expecting nations like Ecuador to sacrifice economic progress for the environment. This action was meant with an outcry from both the international community and many diverse groups within Ecuador, itself. Oil extraction within the Yasuni National Park could have dire consequences for both the wildlife and the indigenous people living within and around the national park.

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Hustai National Park – Mongolia

Przewalski’s horse (Equus ferus)     Hustai National Park     Mongolia

Hustai National Park – Mongolia

The Hustai National Park (also known as Khustain Nuruu National Park) is located in the Töv Province of Mongolia, less than 60 miles from the Mongolian capital of Ulaanbaatar. A city of more than one million people, Ulaanbaatar is the cultural and economic heart of the country containing nearly half the population of Mongolia. From the Chinggis Khaan International Airport in Ulaanbaatar it is about a two to three hour drive over mostly unpaved road to Hustai National Park. With an area of nearly 200 square miles, the Hustai National Park extends from the Tuul River, on the western edge of the Mongolian steppe, west through the Khentii Mountains.

The Hustai National Park was created in 1993. In 2002, Hustai National Park became a UNESCO world biosphere reserve, through its efforts to reconcile the conservation of biological and cultural diversity with economic and social development and promote sustainable development through partnerships with the local community. The Hustai National Park Trust was established in 2003 and has since managed the national park under an agreement with the Mongolian Government. The Hustai National Park is one of the best-managed national parks in Mongolia and was the first Mongolian national park to be managed by a non-governmental organization.

Hustai National Park is home to over 40 species of mammals including the Przewalski’s horse (Equus ferus), Mongolian gazelle (Procapra gutturosa), Siberian roe deer (Capreolus pygargus), red deer (Cervus elaphus), wild boar (Sus scrofa), argali mountain sheep (Ovis ammon), Siberian ibex (Capra sibirica), Mongolian marmot (Marmota sibirica), gray wolf (Canis lupus), corsac fox (Vulpes corsac), red fox (Vulpes vulpes), Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx), and Pallas’s cat (Otocolobus manul). Hustai National Park contains nearly 220 species of birds include great bustard (Otis tarda), bearded vulture (Gypaetus barbatus), whooper swan (Cygnus cygnus), little owl (Athene noctua), black stork (Ciconia nigra), daurian partridge (Perdix dauurica) and golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos), as well as nearly 390 species of insects that live in the Hustai National Park. There are nearly 460 species of vascular plants in The Hustai National Park with rather large patches of birch and aspen forests.

The star attraction of the Hustai National Park is its herd of over 200 Przewalski’s horses, also called Takhi. This rare and endangered species of the only remaining wild horse in the world is native to the steppes of Mongolia. The horse was named after the Russian colonel Nikolai Przhevalsky (the name is of Polish origin and “Przewalski” is the Polish spelling), an explorer and naturalist who first described the horse in 1881. By the end of the 1950s, only 12 individual Przewalski’s horses were left in the world and by 1969 the Przewalski’s horse was extinct in the wild.

In 1977, Jan and Inge Bouman formed the Foundation for the Preservation and Protection of the Przewalski horse in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. This foundation started a program of exchange between captive populations in zoos throughout the world to reduce inbreeding, and later began a Przewalski horse breeding program. In 1998 the Przewalski horse was reintroduced into Hustai National Park from the captive bred population.

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Strange Disappearances Occurring Within The United States National Parks

Each year, millions of people visit the national parks and national forests of the United States. Each year, hundreds of persons are reported missing from national parks within the United States. While most of these persons are eventually found, there are persons vanishing without a trace from our national parks and a number of these cases can not be explained. These disappearances defy normal search and rescue practices. Even when bloodhounds or other tracker dogs are used, clues are often not found. If bodies are found they are often in places that are all but inaccessible, or if found in the open, the bodies are found in locations that were repeatedly searched earlier, begging the question of how did the body get there.

David Paulides, a retired law enforcement officer, believes that some of the missing people disappeared under unexplainable circumstances. In his book, “Missing 411”, Paulides reports on why some obvious explanations simply don’t apply to these missing person cases. Paulides says he doesn’t want to scare people away from visiting our national parks, but he believes that people need to be made aware. Yet government agencies are not saying anything.

His bizarre story had an even more bizarre beginning. According to Paulides, his three year investigation began after he was visited one night by a government employee who unofficially provided him with information about some of these disappearances. Some of the most eerie cases he has uncovered involve people who vanished from national parks and the only clues left were their clothing, neatly piled.

Paulides has compiled data suggesting that these are not isolated missing person cases, but instead these missing person cases cluster around certain regions. His research reflects 28 clusters of missing people across the North American continent, something that has never been exposed before. The research data suggests that topography does play a part in the age of the victims and that certain clusters have specific age and sex consistencies. Paulides believes that this is not a new phenomenon, as his clusters of missing persons include data going back as far as the 1800’s.

Also disturbing is the National Park Service’s attitude about these strange missing person cases. The National Park Service either does not keep adequate records of these disappearances or they have blocked most of his efforts to see their records under The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. § 552, according to Paulides.

Some of the biggest clusters of missing persons are in and around national parks, specifically Yosemite National Park and Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

One such missing person case involves the disappearance of six year old Dennis Martin in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park on June 14, 1969. When the search officially ended in September 1969 nearly 13,500 man hours and 200 helicopter flying hours had been spent on the search for the missing boy. To this day Dennis Martin has never been found.

More recently, Twenty-five year old Derek Lueking disappeared in March 2012 while hiking near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Searchers hiked hundreds of miles of trails in the weeks after his disappearance and used tracking dogs and helicopters, but no significant clues as to Derek’s whereabout were ever found.

Other examples of persons missing in our national parks include, Stuart Isaac (age 50 ) and Bruce P. Pike (age 47 ). These men went missing in Yellowstone National Park in September 2010 and August 2006, respectively. Patrick T Whalen (age 33) went missing in Glacier National Park in November 2000.

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Akagera National Park – Rwanda

Akagera National Park   National Parks of Rwanda  National Parks of Africa  Bushbuck (Tragelaphus scriptus) national parks of the world

Akagera National Park

Akagera National Park (also known as Kagera National Park), located in northeast Rwanda along the border with Tanzania, is Rwanda’s largest national park covering over 400 square miles of savannah, swamplands and rolling highlands. Founded in 1934 to protect Rwanda’s wildlife and flora, Akagera National Park was named for the Kagera River which flows along its eastern boundary. Originally Akagera National Park was nearly 1,000 square miles; however, in the late 1990s, over half of the national park became farmland for returning refugees of the Rwandan Civil War, and the related Rwandan Genocide.

Akagera National Park has very high levels of biodiversity, in part because of the many different ecosystems found in this national park. Much of the national park is savannah and grasslands. Akagera National Park is home to many savannah animal species, including the African elephant (Loxodonta africana), giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis), African cape buffalo (Syncerus caffer), zebra (Equus quagga boehmi), bushbuck (Tragelaphus scriptus), hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibius), olive baboons (Papio anubis), vervet monkeys (Chlorocebus pygerythus),blue monkey (Cercopithecus mitis), topi (Damaliscus lunatus topi), reedbuck (Redunca redunca), impala (Aepyceros melampus), oribi (Ourebia ourebi), defassa waterbuck (Kobus ellipsiprymnus defassa), klipspringer (Oreotragus oreotragus), duiker (Sylvicapra grimmia), roan antelope (Hippotragus equinus), eland (Taurotragus oryx), Bushbabies or Galagos (Galago moholi and Otolemur crassicaudatus), leopard (Panthera pardus), spotted hyena (Crocuta crocuta), serval (Leptailurus serval), side-striped jackal (Canis adustus) and several species of mongoose.

Akagera National Park also has many freshwater lakes, including Lake Ihema. These lakes and their associated papyrus swamps form one of the largest protected wetlands in Africa. Many wetland animal species make their home in the papyrus swamps of Akagera National Park, include the Sitatunga (Tragelaphus spekei), papyrus gonolek (Laniarius mufumbiri) and the elusive shoebill (Balaeniceps rex).
rwandan national park        Akagera National Park Saddle-billed Stork (Ephippiorhynchus senegalensis)   national parks of thre world african national parks
Akagera National Park is home to nearly 500 species of birds, including the marabou stork (Leptoptilos crumeniferus), saddle-billed stork (Ephippiorhynchus senegalensis) and white-breasted cormorant (Phalacrocorax lucidus).

Two animal species noticeably missing from Akagera National Park are the lion (Panthera leo) and the black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis). Both of these species former lived in this region, but were completely exterminated within the national park. Plans have been made to re-introduction the black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis) into Akagera National Park in future and the first lion (Panthera leo) re-introductions were made in 2015.

Unlike many of the most popular national parks in the world, Akagera National Park is not crowded with dozens of other tourist following right behind you. When you visit Akagera National Park it feels like you are in your very own private game reserve, although this may change once the secret of this rare gem becomes more widely known.

african national park  akagera national park  rwanda national park impala  national park

For More Information:

Akagera National Park at African-Parks.org

Kagera National Park Stamps

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National Parks on Postage Stamps – Part 1

Japan 1967 Southern Apls National Park NCC Cacheted FDC

National Parks of Rwanda

Rwanda Postage Stamps – 1965 – Kagera National Park

Rwanda Postage Stamps - 1965 - Kagera National Park - Marabou Stork (Leptoptilus crumeniferus)  10c

Marabou Stork (Leptoptilus crumeniferus)

Rwanda Postage Stamps - 1965 - Kagera National Park - Plains Zebra (Equus burchelli)  20c

Plains Zebra (Equus burchelli)

Rwanda Postage Stamps - 1965 - Kagera National Park - Impala (Aepyceros melampus)  30c

Impala (Aepyceros melampus)

National Parks of Cameroon

Cameroon Postage Stamps – 1964 – Waza National Park – Lion (Panthera leo)

Cameroon - 1964 - Waza National Park – Lion (Panthera leo)

Cameroon - 1964 - Waza National Park – Lion (Panthera leo)

National Parks of Japan

Japanese Postage Stamps – 1938 – Nikko National Park

JAPAN Sc#280-3 1938 Nikko National Park MNH

Japanese Postage Stamps – 1965 – Shiretoko National Park

Japan 1965 Scott's No 855-56 Shiretoko National Park Block four Set

Japanese Postage Stamp – 1964 – Wakasa Bay Quasi-National Park

Japan 1964 Wakasa Bay Quasi-National Park Sc#806

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Mahale Mountain National Park – Tanzania

national parks of the world Mahale National Parks Chimpanzee Tanzania

Mahale Mountain National Park

Mahale Mountain National Park is located on the shores of Lake Tanganyika in the rift lake valley of Tanzania. Mahale Mountain National Park is well known for its population of wild chimpanzees. Mahale Mountain National Park is only accessible by airplane or boat, and travel within the national parks forests is mainly on foot. A visit to the Mahale Mountain National Park is about as off the beaten track as national park visits come. It is truly a magical experience when you come face to face with wild chimpanzees in their native habitat. The Mahale Mountains, from which the national park gets its name, runs diagonally, from northeast to southwest, across the park, rising to an elevations of more than 7,500 feet above sea level. Above 7,000 feet montane grasslands can be found in the national park. Montane forest, featuring Podocarpus, Bersama, Nuxiacongesta, Macaranga and Croton trees are found between elevations of 7,000 feet and 4,000 feet, along with bamboo bushlands. Below this the Kasoge forest begins on the western slopes and stretches down to the lakeshore. The Kasoge forest covers much of the valleys and lowlands of the national park with Canarium, Albizia, Cynometra, Khaya, Xylopia, Pseudospondias, Ficus, Pycnanthus and Garcinia trees that form the canopy of this lowland forest.

Mahale Mountains National Park has more than 350 species of birds and over 40 species of reptiles and amphibians. Around 250 species of freshwater fish are found in the waters around the Mahale Mountains National Park and most of these species are endemic to Lake Tanganyika, one of the oldest lakes in the world. Lake Tanganyika is also the world’s longest lake and the second largest and second deepest freshwater lake in the world, behind Lake Baikal in Siberia.

national parks of the world   mahale national park  tanzania lake tanganika cichlid

Over 80 species of mammals are found in Mahale Mountain National Park. Some of these mammal species include the lion (Panthera leo), Grant’s zebra (Equus quagga boehmi), hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibious), leopard (Panthera pardus), warthog (Phacochoerus africanus), giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis), greater kudu (Tragelaphus strepsiceros), roan antelope (Hippotragus equinus), sable antelope (Hippotragus niger), Lichtenstein hartebeest (Alcelaphus lichtensteinii), southern or mountain reedbuck (Redunca arundinum), blue duiker (Cephalophus monticola), Sharpe’s grysbok (Raphicerus sharpei), Harvey’s duiker (Cephalophus harveyi), giant forest squirrel (Protoxerus stangeri), red-legged sun squirrel (Heliosciurus rufobrachium), brush-tailed porcupine (Atherurus sp.), Angolan black-and-white colobus monkeys (Colobus angolensis), bushy-tailed mongoose (Bdeogale crassicauda), banded mongoose (Mungos mungo), marsh mongoose (Atilax paludinosus), Smith’s red rock hare (Pronolagus rupestris) and, of course, the chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii),

The chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) is found as far west in Africa as Senegal and ranges east into Congo, Uganda, Tanzania. Tanzania is home to the “eastern’’ or “bald-headed’’ chimpanzee subspecies, (Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii). Mahale Mountains National Park is the home of one of the most studied chimpanzee populations. These wild chimpanzees have been studied since 1965. The ability to conduct chimpanzee research in the wild depends on the habituation of the individual chimpanzees that are being studied. Habituation of the Mahale chimpanzee population was initially achieved by providing the chimpanzees with food, such as sugarcane and bananas. By 1987, provisioning had ceased and researchers have been able to follow the chimpanzees as they range freely in the national park’s forests. By observing chimpanzees in these natural conditions, it has been possible to learn much more about their natural behavior, ecology and social structure. Some of these behaviors, including the use of tools for fishing and termite foraging and the use of plants for medicinal purposes, were previously thought to be attributable only to human beings. The financial support that visitors provide through their park entrance fees enables the safeguarding of this unique population of chimpanzees and the beautiful forest which they inhabit within the Mahale Mountains National Park.

The habituation of the chimpanzees that live in the Mahale Mountains National Park has also allowed national park visitors to enjoy the wild chimpanzees in a more intimate way. Visitors can hike to the chimpanzee’s natural habitat and stand within a few feet of these wonderful animals and watch the chimpanzees feed, play, fight and do what chimpanzees do naturally. This would not be possible if the chimpanzee population had not already been habitualized to human beings.

The best time of the year to see chimpanzees in the Mahale Mountains National Park is during the months of August and September when the chimpanzees have moved down the mountains in search of food at the lower elevations. At these lower elevations it is easier to reach the chimpanzees and which can take as little as one hour of hiking. Visits to the national parks during earlier times of the year can require nearly a full day of hiking to reach the chimpanzees. The national park does have a one hour limit on the time that each group of visitors can stay with the chimpanzees.

While the chimpanzees are the main draw, Mahale Mountains National Park, offers many other activities including hiking and birdwatching in the park’s wonderful forests; and kayaking, fishing and snorkeling in beautiful Lake Tanganyika.

Mahale Mountains National Park – For More Infromation

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