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Gorongosa National Park in Mozambique has become one of the most celebrated wildlife restoration stories in Africa. After a quarter century of civil war and political turmoil wiped out more than 95% of the large mammal population, a decade of renewed protection and careful conservation has brought the park back from the brink.
But for a national park to thrive in today’s world, protecting the animals is only half the battle. Gorongosa has also made a powerful commitment to lifting up the 200,000 people—and in particular the girls and women—who live near the park. This is a new vision for conservation in the 21st Century, where people and animals must coexist—to the benefit of them all.
In the film, Dominique Gonçalves, a vibrant Mozambican ecologist who runs the Gorongosa elephant ecology project, shares the myriad ways Gorongosa is redefining the identity and purpose of an African national park. From her own work mitigating human/elephant conflict; to community clubs and school programs that empower girls to avoid teen marriage and pregnancy; to health clinics and nutrition training for expectant mothers and families; Dominique leads viewers on an eye-opening journey that will transform their understanding of what a national park can be.
The commitment of the incredible women who run these programs—and the resilience of the mothers and girls who are benefiting from them—make for an inspiring story of strength and hope. As Dominique explains, only this virtuous cycle of careful conservation and community development can ensure a positive future for the animals, the people and the planet.