The documentary film, “Our Gorongosa: A Park for the People,” will have its United States premiere at 8 p.m. on Tuesday on Idaho Public Television. The channel will then rebroadcast the film every day between Thursday and Nov. 25.
The documentary is intended to show a new way to run a national park on the African continent. Gorongosa National Park, located in Mozambique, works double as a public land preserve and a livelihood for local people. The park has thrived in recent years, after decades of abandonment by the Mozambican government due to the civil war that took place there between 1981 and 1994. Gorongosa’s revitalization has much to do with Gorongosa Project Director and Idaho Falls native, Greg Carr.
Carr got involved in the park in 2004 when the government of Mozambique invited him onto the project. He has since committed to a 30-year restoration project of the Gorongosa Park that involves developing the communities in and around the park and rehabilitating the wildlife in it.
Carr built his wealth in the technology field. After receiving his master’s degree in public policy from Harvard University in 1986 he started Boston Technology with a partner, which in four years became the nation’s No. 1 voicemail provider for telephone companies. He sold the company at the end of the 1990s.
The Idaho Falls native has been involved in multiple Idaho projects as well, including being a driving force behind the Museum of Idaho.
“Mozambicans are demonstrating to the world they can develop their communities and protect nature at the same time. They are showing that these two objectives are compatible, indeed, mutually reinforcing. A healthy environment provides nature-based employment. In turn, the local people work to protect and restore their national park,” Carr said in a news release.
Park officials plan to achieve this restoration in a variety of ways, including mitigating conflict between humans and wildlife, creating community clubs and school programs that focus on improving the lives of children, and establishing health clinics.
Dominique Gonçalves, an African elephant ecologist who works for the park, is the narrator of “Our Gorongosa.” Besides her work with elephants, Gonçalves also assists local farmers in interacting with wildlife and has implemented coffee-bean and cashew production initiatives.
The film was created with the intention of focusing on a specific “impact audience.” That audience is made up of those who are heavily involved in policymaking, conservation funding, and park development, especially in Africa.
“By focusing on this ‘impact audience,’ our goal is to encourage these decision-makers to replicate aspects of the Gorongosa model in other protected areas,” the film’s website says.
However, with the film now being released in other continents and countries as well, including this first showing in the United States, the filmmakers say they hope others outside their target audience will be inspired by Gorongosa’s story as well.