FLAMINGO Land has said it is proud of its involvement in the recent acquisition and protection of a vitally important area of tropical forest in Tanzania.

Following on from Flamingo Land’s Udzungwa Forest Project (UFP) - also based in Tanzania - and its successes, the company has managed to reach agreement to create a 26km2 nature reserve called Magombera Forest.

The group has worked with multiple other parties in the project, including the Tanzania Forest Conservation Group, Tanzanian Government, Rainforest Trust, World Land Trust, Aage V Jensen Foundation, four local villages and a sugar company.

The reserve will protect a vitally important forest and a unique species community found nowhere else in the world.

Gordon Gibb, Flamingo Land’s owner, said: “This is the culmination of my life’s work and passion and that of the company, Flamingo Land.”

UFP began life 12 years ago after Mr Gibb expressed an interest to the University of York to begin an environmental and conservation project with world-wide importance.

This led to Mr Gibb being introduced to Dr Marshall and his forest research in Tanzania.

After visiting the field it was decided that Flamingo Land and Dr Marshall (a PhD student at the time) would work to achieve the same goals with the support of the University of York, working through in-country partners, the Tanzania Forest Conservation Group and, more recently, Reforest Africa.

Although they said they have been pleased with the success of UFP - where two new species not previously known to the world have been identified, including a new tree species and a new chameleon - it was never anticipated that forest annexation could be achieved.

The Magombera Forest will now be researched and protected for future generations, working closely with local communities, and will be protected from the devastating deforestation which is blighting the planet.

The Flamingo Land University of York collaboration has led to six awards for its research and conservation work. In addition, the work has helped Tanzanian communities with educational programmes about saving the forest and generating income from tourism.