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The Waza National Park is Cameroon's most famous national park.

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waza mapWaza National Park is a national park in Far North Region, Cameroon. It was founded in 1934, albeit as a hunting reserve, and covers a total of 1,700 km².


The park became a National Park in 1968, and a UNESCO biosphere reserve in 1979. It is adjacent to the Chingurmi-Duguma sector of the Nigerian Chad Basin National Park.

The park is managed by the Conservation Service of the Waza National Park, part of the Cameroon Ministry of Environment and the Protection of Nature.

In 1983, the park had a staff of twenty-five rangers; however, as of 2005, that number had dropped to seven, and poachers from Chad, Nigeria, and Cameroon itself were reported to have gone on a "rampage for the Park’s resources." Also in 2005 the Netherlands World Conservation Union Committee agreed to pay for an additional sixteen "eco-rangers" who would assist the regular ones.

wazaWaza National Park harbours, together with the contiguous Logone flood-plain (CM002), some 379 bird species. Other species of global conservation concern include Marmaronetta angustirostris, observed only in 1976, Aythya nyroca, recorded in 1967 and 1976, Aquila clanga, seen in 1978, Falco naumanni, which was common in the 1970s, but recently has only been recorded in 1993 and 1997, and Neotis nuba, which has been recorded once, in 1998.

The park contains important populations of grassland species such as Ortyxelos meiffrenii, an estimated 100–200 Ardeotis arabs and holds the last Struthio camelus population in Cameroon, with c.100 individuals. Waterbird counts have recorded, in addition to those listed below, up to 15,000 Dendrocygna viduata while the 1,000+ Balearica pavonina are thought to represent at least 5% of the western population of this species. More than 20,000 waterbirds are thought to be present most of the year.

Waza National Park is located in the transition zone between the Sahel and Sudan savanna. The park, situated immediately east of the town of Waza, lies less than 10 km from the borders with both Nigeria and Chad. It is bounded to the east and north-east by the Logone flood-plain (CM002) and to the west by the Maroua–Kousséri road. The southern and extreme western parts are covered by sandy soils that support a wooded Sclerocarya birrea and Anogeissus leiocarpus savanna. Most of the park is, however, covered by heavy clay soils and is extremely flat.


The north-eastern corner is annually flooded and is covered by perennial grass species such as Echinochloa pyramidalis, Oryza longistaminata and, less commonly, Hyparrhenia rufa and Vetiveria nigritana. A few raised areas, supporting Tamarindus indica and Balanites aegyptiaca trees, constitute the only variation in this open landscape. Large stretches of annual grasses and herbs, interspersed by Acacia seyal shrublands, cover the central and western parts of the park, most of which used to be seasonally inundated prior to the construction of the Maga dam, which lies to the south-east.

 
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