The inhabitants of Banco National Park have nicknamed it “the great wall”. It is a concrete fence about 3 meters high, topped with a spiral of barbed wire. Its second phase of construction, planned to cover 4,500 kilometers, began in June 2022 and should be completed in 2023, thus completely encircling Banco National Park, located west of Abidjan, the economic capital of the Coast. of ivory.
“In reality, it’s 12 km of fences for a perimeter of 24 km, because a good part of the border has already been nibbled here and there to build urban housing estates”, explains Adama Tondossama, the director general of the Ivorian Office of Parks and Reserves (OIPR). The first part of the fence, 4.4 kilometers long, in the north of the park was delivered on March 31, 2022.
The construction of such an imposing fence around the park aims to limit the multiple attacks of which it is the victim, due to anarchic urbanization. “These include illegal activities such as logging and poaching, dumping of household waste inside the park, and foraging for traditional food and medicine,” OIPR said in a note.
A water reservoir for the city of Abidjan
Established as a national park by decree of October 31, 1953, Banco National Park covers 3,438 hectares. It is the second largest urban park in the world, after Tijuca National Park in Brazil. Considered the water reservoir and green lung of the city of Abidjan, Banco’s groundwater supplies 40% of Abidjan’s drinking water and captures 90,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year, according to OIPR.
Read also – IVORY COAST: COP15 President overwhelmed by suspicions of deforestation
In addition to conservation efforts, OIPR aims to have Banco National Park listed as a World Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The park has a rich biological potential, including a family of chimpanzees living in 600 hectares of primary forest, an arboretum with more than 800 species of higher plants from the tropical regions of Africa, Asia and Latin America. There are also fish ponds, a semi-natural swimming pool, a restaurant and the house of Governor Joseph-François Reste (a French colonial administrator), which serves as an ecomuseum.