Although the park was originally proclaimed to protect the one species - the elephant - conservation priorities changes over the years.
In the 1980s, the conservation of five elements took priority: the elephant, the black rhino, the buffalo, the flightless dung beetle and the thicket vegetation. These days a more wholistic approach of conserving biodiversity is the aim. "The mission of the Addo Elephant National Park is to conserve the faunal and floral assemblages and ecological processes that characterise the unique Eastern Cape region, and to actively present this for the appreciation by visitors.
The Conservation Services Office in Port Elizabeth has two divisions:
- The Park Planning Division, is staffed with a Head of Park Planning responsible for land consolidation and development of parks nationally, a Coordinator for Park Planning and Development of the Greater Addo project and Garden Route Initiative, a Marine Coordinator for the Greaetr Addo MPA, an Administration & Finance officer Finances and the Project Management Unit responsible for implementation of Greater Addo World Bank project.
- Scientific Services is part of the Arid Ecosystems Research Unit (AERU) and is staffed by an Animal Ecologist responsible for the large mammal monitoring and research, a Rehabilitation Ecologist who is assessing habitat threats and rehabilitation requirements and a Landscape Ecologist who interested in spatial processes linking biological and physical aspects across landscapes. AERU as a unit is reponsible for providing the scientific input into park managment through research, monitoring and planning processes. The unit focuses their attention on the following parks; Addo Elephant, Mountain Zebra, Karoo, Namaqua, |Ai-|Ais/Richtersveld, Augrabies Falls, Kgalagadi, Vaalbos, Golden Gate and shares responsibility with the Scientific Services teams of Rondevlei and Skukuza for the inputs into Tankwa Karoo, Bontebok, Table Mountain, Agulhas, Marakele and Mapungubwe. AERU has assigned principle scientists to each park responsible for coordinating the ongoing research and monitoring activities both from within SANParks as well as from outside institutions.
Please see here to find out how Scientific Services is staffed.
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Did You Know?
- It also protects the world's largest Cape gannet breeding population on Bird Island
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Official Guide on Sale
This 52-page full-colour brochure gives the visitor a complete overview of the Park, its fauna and flora, history, new developments, accommodation and activities. Highly recommended! Available from the park directly.