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Contact: General Park Information, 305-242-7700
Contact: Media Contact Linda Friar, 305-242-7714
Contact: Media Contact Mary Plumb, 305-242-7017
Biscayne and Everglades National Parks are hosting Ghislain Somba, a Warden at Garamba National Park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. National Park Service employees are providing Warden Somba with extensive training in natural resources management, visitor and resource protection, wildlife management and interpretation. He is training in the United States for one month.
“I hope my time with Everglades and Biscayne National Parks will help bring attention to the plight of the national parks and endangered wildlife in the Democratic Republic of the Congo,” said Somba. “While many things are different about our national parks, there are also many things that we have in common such as troubles with poaching, wildfires, funding, invasive species and more. I am encouraged by how much we are learning from each other.”
Warden Somba is providing National Park Service employees in South Florida as well as Washington DC with a rare opportunity to work with and learn from a 21 year veteran of Congo’s war-torn national parks. These parks are managed by the Congolese Wildlife Authority. Warden Somba spent much of his career leading efforts to protect endangered mountain gorillas in Virunga National Park. He was recently transferred to Garamba National Park where he directs efforts to protect endangered species such as elephants and white rhinos (nearly extinct in the wild). Many of his colleagues have died protecting these animals and other resources of the national parks of the Congolese Wildlife Authority. He has a degree in natural resource and frontier boundary management from Southern Africa Wildlife College.
In addition to training with the National Park Service, the parks' conservation partners are also assisting with this effort. Wildlife Rescue of Dade County arranged for training in emergency wildlife response at its facility, the Florida Keys Wild Bird Sanctuary, and Pelican Harbor Seabird Station, and also provided marine mammal stranding response training at Dolphins Plus. Warden Somba also received a tour on captive breeding efforts of endangered species at ZooMiami with Ron Magill.
The Office of International Affairs for the National Park Service is coordinating Warden Somba’s training with World Wildlife Fund's Education for Nature Fellowship Program. The World Wildlife Fund funded the grant for the program.