Kitulo National Park

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Moraea callista, a species of iris found in Kitulo National Park.

Kitulo National Park is a protected area of alpine grassland and montane forest in the Southern Highlands of Njombe Region, Tanzania. The Park covers an area of 412.9 km2 (159.4 sq mi), lying partly in Mbeya Region and mostly in Njombe Region. The protected area includes the Kitulo Plateau and the adjoining Livingstone Forest. The Park is administered by Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA), and is the first National Park in tropical Africa to be established primarily for the protection of its flora.[1]

Locals refer to the Kitulo Plateau as 'Bustani ya Mungu' (The Garden of God), while botanists have referred to it as the Serengeti of Flowers.

Protection of the Kitulo Plateau's unique flora was first proposed by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), in response to the growing international trade in orchid tubers and increased hunting and logging activities in the surrounding forests.[2] In 2002, President Benjamin Mkapa announced the establishment of the Kitulo National Park. The Park was formally gazetted in 2005,[3] becoming Tanzania's 14th National Park. Future proposals by TANAPA would see the Park expanded to include the neighbouring Mount Rungwe Forest.

In 2005, field scientists from the WCS discovered a new species of primate on and around Mount Rungwe and in the Livingstone Forest area of the National Park.[4] Initially known as the Highland Mangabey, later changed to its Tanzanian name of Kipunji, it is one the 25 most endangered primates in the world.[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Tanzania's New National Park Protects Edible Orchids". Environment News Service. 21 March 2002. 
  2. ^ "Tasty orchids are selling like hotcakes in Tanzania". Mail and Guardian Online. 6 March 2003. 
  3. ^ "Strengthening the Protected Area Network in Southern Tanzania: Improving the Effectiveness of National Parks in Addressing Threats to Biodiversity". Global Environment Facility. 24 December 2010. p. 21. 
  4. ^ "New Primate Discovered In Mountain Forests Of Tanzania". sciencedaily.com. 29 May 2005. 
  5. ^ "25 Most Endangered Primates: The Kipunji". Primate Specialist Group. Retrieved 2011-03-11. 

External links[edit]

  • Kitulo, Tanzania National Parks website

Coordinates: 9°05′S 33°50′E / 9.083°S 33.833°E / -9.083; 33.833