Algeria’s New Taghit National Park

Many visitors and tourists to the small Algerian village of Taghit see this area as an undiscovered jewel of beauty. The village itself is not accessible due to it being a military post, but the small oasis surrounded by tall palms against the backdrop of giant sand dunes, captures the imagination of all that visit this area. While some find the sunrise on the dunes breathtaking and others are not able to resist sliding down the slopes, the dunes and slowly advancing Sahara Desert, poses a threat to this area on a large scale.

The Sahara Desert is the largest desert area in the world, covering most of the North African region. The extreme weather conditions also bring about the constant struggle between man and the animals that are trying to survive. Water and vegetation in the desert is limited and with the advancing Sahara Desert, emergency steps have been taken to slow the progress of the desert and to create an area in which animal and bird species can live in relative peace, without challenging their human rivals for space, freedom and nutrition.

The severity of the increasing desert has been addressed by the Friends of the Sahara Association, together with the support of the National Agency for the Conservation of Nature, by the establishment of the Taghit National Park. The park has received approximately 250 000 hectares of land, but agencies are working to increase the park size to about 500 000 hectares in the future. The Taghit National Park and conservationists have their work cut out for them, as their aim is to introduce more vegetation and to protect the existing grasslands. The replanting of palm trees and acacias, which are native to the land, will slow down the progress of the desert and has more positive attributes, than negative.

The Taghit National Park will not only be able to protect and increase the survival of the diverse wild life in the region, but will also have a positive effect on natural water supplies and assist in the agricultural needs of the desert communities. With approximately 33 mammal species and 107 bird species in this area, the need to protect the interests of the regions wildlife, receives top priority. Human contact will be kept to a minimum, and small zones will be afforded to communities for agricultural uses on the condition that pollution is not caused by their activities and that their presence will not pose a threat to the project. With interest that visitors have shown to the region, environmentally safe facilities will be addressed to accommodate the tourism industry.