Upemba National Park
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Upemba National Park is a large national park in
Haut-Lomami Haut-Lomami (French for "Upper Lomami") is one of the 21 new provinces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo There are currently twenty-five provinces in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The capital, Kinshasa city, is administratively ...
,
Lualaba Province Lualaba is one of the 21 new provinces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo There are currently twenty-five provinces in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The capital, Kinshasa city, is administratively equivalent to a province.
&
Haut-Katanga Province Haut-Katanga (French for "Upper Katanga") is one of the 21 new provinces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo created in the Subdivisions of the DR Congo#New provinces, 2015 repartitioning. Haut-Katanga, Haut-Lomami, Lualaba Province, Lualaba ...
(formerly in
Katanga Province Katanga was one of the four large provinces created in the Belgian Congo The Belgian Congo (french: link=no, Congo belge, ; nl, Belgisch-Congo) was a Belgian colonial empire, Belgian colony in Central Africa from 1908 until independence ...
) of the southeastern
Democratic Republic of Congo The Democratic Republic of the Congo ( french: République démocratique du Congo (RDC) ), also known as Congo-Kinshasa, DR Congo, the DRC, the DROC, or the Congo, and formerly Zaire Zaire (, ), officially the Republic of Zaire (frenc ...

Democratic Republic of Congo
, formerly
Zaire Zaire (, ), officially the Republic of Zaire (french: République du Zaïre, link=no, ), was the name of a sovereign state between 1971 and 1997 in Central Africa Central Africa is a subregion A subregion is a part of a larger regio ...

Zaire
.


Geography

At the time of the creation of Upemba National Park, on 15 May 1939, the park had a surface area of . It was the largest park in Africa. In July 1975, the limits were revised and today the integral park has an area of with an annex of a further . Its lower section is located in the
Upemba Depression The Upemba Depression (or Kamalondo Depression) is a large marshy bowl area (depression Depression may refer to: Mental health * Depression (mood), a state of low mood and aversion to activity * Mood disorders characterized by depression are ...
, a lush area of lakes and
marsh A marsh is a wetland A wetland is a distinct ecosystem that is flooded by water, either permanently (for years or decades) or seasonally (for weeks or months). Flooding results in oxygen-free (Anoxic waters, anoxic) processes prevail ...

marsh
es including the eponymous
Lake Upemba Lake Upemba is a lake A lake is an area filled with water, localized in a basin, surrounded by land Land is the solid surface of Earth that is not permanently submerged in water. Most but not all land is situated at elevations above ...
, and bordered by the
Lualaba River The Lualaba River flows entirely within the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo The Democratic Republic of the Congo ( french: République démocratique du Congo (RDC) ), also known as Congo-Kinshasa, DR Congo, the DRC, the DROC, or t ...
. Its higher section is in the dryer
Kibara Plateau The Kibara Mountains (French: Monts Kibara) are a range in the Katanga Province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. They are partly within the Upemba National Park. The Kibara mountains were once part of a continuous plateau in northern Kat ...
mountains.


History

Upemba National Park was first established in 1939. As with much of the wildlife of the region, in contemporary times the park continues to be threatened by the activities of poachers, pollution, and the activities of refugees and militia. There are also a handful of villages in the park. In recent years, the park has come under considerable attack from poachers and local militias. On 28 May 2004, for instance, the park headquarters in Lusinga came under attack by the
Mai Mai The term Mai-Mai or Mayi-Mayi refers to any kind of community-based militia group active in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) that is formed to terrorise people and territory they work with other armed groups. Most were formed to resist ...
militia A militia () is generally an army An army (from Latin ''arma'' "arms, weapons" via Old French ''armée'', "armed" eminine, ground force or land force is a fighting force that fights primarily on land. In the broadest sense, it is the land-b ...
. Several wardens and their families were killed, the headquarters were burned down, and the family of the chief warden was taken hostage. On 1 June 2005, the protectors of the park received the Abraham Conservation Award for their role in protecting the rich biodiversity of the Congo River basin.


Habitat

The habitat of the park varies from Afromontane grasslands and forests at higher altitudes in the Kibara Mountains; through Miombo, Miombo woodlands and tropical rainforests; to
marsh A marsh is a wetland A wetland is a distinct ecosystem that is flooded by water, either permanently (for years or decades) or seasonally (for weeks or months). Flooding results in oxygen-free (Anoxic waters, anoxic) processes prevail ...

marsh
es, wetlands, lakes, and streams with riparian zones at the lower altitudes. It is home to some 1,800 different species, some of them discovered as late as 2003.
Lake Upemba Lake Upemba is a lake A lake is an area filled with water, localized in a basin, surrounded by land Land is the solid surface of Earth that is not permanently submerged in water. Most but not all land is situated at elevations above ...
has a maximum depth reported to be only and it is a site of intense algae growth. The watercourses of the region fluctuate according to the season and the water level in the lakes is high from March to June, and low from October to January. Many of the bodies of the water in the area are characterized by extensive swamps, with papyrus, Pistia, Nile lettuce and water caltrop among other species.


Fauna

The system of lakes, rivers, swamps and wetlands supports a variety of fish fauna. This includes over 30 species of Cyprinidae, Mormyridae (also known as freshwater elephant fish), ''Barbus'', Alestidae, Mochokidae and Cichlidae. Bird species include several threatened or endangered species, such as the shoebill, wattled crane and spotted ground-thrush. Schmidt's snouted frog is only known from the park.


See also

*Congo Rainforest *:National parks of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, National parks of the Democratic Republic of the Congo *List of national parks in Africa


References

{{Authority control Upemba National Park, Central Zambezian miombo woodlands Haut-Lomami Lualaba Province Haut-Katanga Province Miombo Protected areas established in 1939 1939 establishments in the Belgian Congo