As the U.N. Cop 27 Climate Change Conference begins, the government of Gabon and WildAid have launched a "Wonders of Gabon" campaign to highlight the West African country’s stunning landscapes and rich wildlife, while raising awareness of the threats they face and ways to address those threats.
The campaign, developed with the collaboration of the Ministry of Water, Forests, Sea, and Environment, In Charge of the Climate Plan and Land-Use Plan, and the National Agency for National Parks (ANPN), will also promote Gabon as a leading eco-tourism destination in Africa, with short videos to be broadcast on screens throughout the Leon Mba International Airport in Libreville between November 2022 and April 2023.
“Gabon is a unique and remarkably preserved country with many varied and biodiverse ecosystems,” said Gabon’s Environment Minister Lee White.
“It is the only place in the world where you can see gorillas, hippos surfing the waves, elephants beach combing and whales on the same day,” Prof. White added. “This rich natural treasure will soon be revealed to the world as a new ecotourism destination.”
Gabon is home to 13 national parks, including two World Heritage Sites, covering 11% of the country, as well as a series of wildlife reserves, cultural protected areas and wetlands sites recognised as of international importance under the RAMSAR convention, bringing its total terrestrial protected area cover to 21%. It also has nine marine parks and 11 aquatic reserves, with 27% of its marine ecosystems protected, White said.
“Whether we land from abroad for work or for holidays, or whether we travel through the nine regions of Gabon, awareness of this unique wealth is essential because it reminds us at every moment of the beauty of this environment but also of the importance it plays in our daily lives and for our well-being,” says Jennifer Biffot, WildAid Gabon Representative.
Each week, a new #WondersofGabon video highlighting this incredible natural heritage will also be released on the WildAid Africa Instagram and WildAid Africa TikTok channels. A billboard has also been placed within the airport since May.
Located between the vast territories of Cameroon and the Republic of Congo, the 267,667 km² that make up Gabon are among the most precious in the Congo Basin region.
With more than 88% of its territory covered by forest, making it the second most forested country on the planet, Gabon plays a key role in the battle to preserve the vast Congo rainforest, sometimes known as the world's second green lung.
“From the largest elephant population, to the largest leatherback turtle egg-laying site, to the most intact forests in the world, the National Parks Agency selflessly protects the exceptional value found in its national parks, for the good of the Gabonese people and the entire planet,” said ANPN Executive Secretary Christian Tchemambela.
Gabon also has one of the world's largest and most diverse wild ecosystems with a rich and unique fauna and flora, including roughly two thirds of Africa's remaining forest elephants, as well as gorillas, chimpanzees, panthers, hippos and pangolins.
This remarkable biodiversity is part of the pride of the nation, and the history and culture of its people and yet it is more at risk of irreversible degradation today than ever before due to the many threats it faces.