Boma National Park spans 19,189 km2 and falls within the Somali-Maasai and Sudano-Guinean biomes. The southern part of Boma is semi-arid, where the average rainfall ranges between 300-500mm and the soils are generally shallow and infertile. The vegetation of this area is characterised by extensive short grasslands and acacia bush. The eastern part of the park is covered with woodland dominated by Combretum and Ficus species, and the western flat plains are composed of open grassland.
A number of rivers run through or around Boma and several wetlands exist in and around the park. These habitats are largely seasonal, though permanent waterholes exist that act as dry season refuges for many species, as well as for human activity. The Juom Swamp is the largest of the wetlands and is found in the northern sector of the park. Besides being a reliable source of water, the wetland supports high value green biomass during the dry season, making it an important dry season range for wildlife, particularly white-eared kob.
Boma supports the second largest mammal migration in Africa, the migration of hundreds of thousands of white eared kob. While exact figures are unknown, estimates from surveys conducted 20 years ago suggest numbers of nearly 1.3 million animals in total, including tiang and Mongalla gazelle. A more recent survey conducted in a section of this landscape in 2015 and 2016 indicated the population numbered around 300,000 of just white-eared kob, suggesting that antelope numbers remain high to this day.
Despite the seemingly high number of white eared kob, many other species suffered precipitous population declines during the civil war and are now only found in populations numbering several hundred, including the common zebra and Lelwel Hartebeest, buffalo and giraffe. Carnivores, including lion, cheetah, wild dog, spotted hyaena, striped hyaena, and leopard, are still present but are typically low in number, possibly as result of the highly seasonal and extensive movements of prey.
In order for African Parks to ensure Boma National Park and its wildlife persist long into the future, we need to first establish good governance structures which will be accomplished by working closely with government bodies and local communities. This complimented with the formation of an effective law enforcement team and community engagement initiatives will help secure the landscape, ultimately reducing threats and poaching and ensuring it continues to benefit the people and wildlife who depend on it. We believe that with good management and existing wildlife populations, we will see quick recovery of migrating antelope and steady increases in other key species.
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