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Protecting Africa's Wildlife

Protecting Africa's Wildlife
Protecting Africa's Wildlife

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A rare antelope unique to Angola will have a better chance of survival now, thanks to American-Angolan cooperation. The palanca negra gigante, or giant sable antelope, is a national symbol that almost became extinct during the long civil war in Angola. Now, says U.S. Ambassador to Angola Dan Mozena, the United States is helping to support Angolan efforts to protect the remaining animals.

As Angola creates a sanctuary for the conservation, preservation and protection of the giant sable antelope — which is the symbol of the Angolan national soccer team — Ambassador Mozena said the United States is proud to support the effort.

Only 9 females and one male palanca negra gigante were captured last summer and are now safely protected in the Boma Sanctuary of the Cangandala Park. The animal is still on the brink of extinction but hopes are high that there will be many giant sable antelope babies in 2010. The number of animals still in the wild is unknown but probably extremely small.

At a December 3 ceremony at the U.S. Embassy in Luanda, Ambassador Mozena presented uniforms to support Angolan rangers who are patrolling Angolan national parks as part of the effort to preserve and protect the remaining antelope. The uniforms were donated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in support of the conservation project.

Ambassador Mozena told his audience, which included Angolan Minister of the Environment Maria de Fátima Monteiro Jardim, "The creation of the sanctuary for the palanca negra gigante in Malanje province was a huge project that must be commended and supported by everyone as sign of our common respect and protection of our world so that we can leave a legacy to the generations to come of a planet where animals and people can live together in harmony that will ultimately make life better for all living beings in the Earth."

The government of the United States, through the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, has approved a series of contributions that start with the donation of the new ranger uniforms for the palanca negra gigante areas but also for other national protected areas, Ambassador Mozena said.

Likewise, he pledged, "we will support the necessary veterinarian assistance and management to the present sanctuary and will contribute to education initiatives on the importance of conservation in the palanca negra gigante areas." Ambassador Mozena said it was a matter of "personal pride and honor" to be part of this important wildlife conservation effort.