The wildlife of South Sudan refers to the natural flora and fauna of South Sudan. South Sudan includes the Sudd, one of the world's largest wetlands. According to the American biologist and conservationist, J. Michael Fay, South Sudan "could present the biggest migration of large mammals on earth", while Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) reports southeast Sudan has a migration of 1.3 million antelopes. The region has a low density human population, with approximately 7 million people spread over approximately 619,745 km2 (239,285 sq mi).
The total area under protection is around 143,000 km2 (55,000 sq mi) spread over 23 protected areas which account for 15% of the South Sudanese territory. The largest protected area is the Sudd Wetland, which is an important bird life area covering 57,000 km2 (22,000 sq mi). It is also a Ramsar Site with over 400 bird species, 100 mammal species, and 100 fish species. Many of the protected areas are exploited for illegal hunting and rearing of livestock.
South Sudan’s protected areas are in the flood plains of the Nile River. The habitat predominantly comprises grasslands, high-altitude plateaus and escarpments, wooded and grassy savannas, floodplains and wetlands. Some of the other protected areas are the Boma National Park in the Boma-Jonglei Landscape region, an oil rich area on the eastern border with Ethiopia; the Southern National Park bordering Democratic Republic of the Congo; the Bandingilo National Park (including Mongalla)–8,400 km2 (3,200 sq mi); Nimule National Park–410 km2 (160 sq mi); and Shambe National Park, an important bird area–620 km2 (240 sq mi).
There are several protected game reserves. The Ez Zeraf Game Reserve (9,700 km2 (3,700 sq mi)) is located in the expansive swamplands and the seasonally flooded grasslands. Other game reserves are: Ashana Game Reserve–900 km2 (350 sq mi); Bengangai Game Reserve, an important bird area–170 km2 (66 sq mi); Bire Kpatuos Game Reserve–5,000 km2 (1,900 sq mi); Chelkou Game Reserve–5,500 km2 (2,100 sq mi); Fanikang Game Reserve (part of Ramsar Site)–480 km2 (190 sq mi); Juba Game Reserve–200 km2 (77 sq mi); Kidepo Game Reserve–1,200 km2 (460 sq mi); Mbarizunga Game Reserve–10 km2 (3.9 sq mi); and Numatina Game Reserve–2,100 km2 (810 sq mi).
Other protected areas include
- Imatong Mountains, an important bird and natural conservation area–1,000 km2 (390 sq mi)
- Lake Ambadi, a natural conservation area–1,500 km2 (580 sq mi)
- Lake No, a natural conservation area–1,000 km2 (390 sq mi).
Boma National Park 
Boma National Park covers an area of 2.25 million hectares of pasture lands and floodplains. The wildlife in this park has provided bush meat which is not only a dominant food need for many people of Southern Sudan but also an avenue of illegal trading supported by wildlife hunting that has caused biodiversity damage. The park accounts for the greatest concentration of wildlife in the country, particularly of mammals.
In Boma National Park, fauna species were surveyed and counted by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in 2001, during the wet season. The species recorded were white-eared kob (Kobus kob leucotis), the Korrigum (not sighted) (Damaliscus korrigum korrigum), the Mongalla gazelle (Eudorcas albonotata), African buffalo, African elephant, leopard, giraffe, plains zebra, oryx, hartebeest, cheetah, lesser eland, Lelwel hartebeest, zebra, waterbuck, Grant's gazelle, Lesser kudu, bongo, Giant eland, lion, and Nile lechwe. It is also an important bird area: avifauna includes Ruppell's Vulture and the Black-chested Snake Eagle.
- White-eared kob
The most prominent species of the Boma National Park is the white-eared kob (Kobus kob leucotis) antelope. A UNEP study reports that the white-eared kob is found mostly to the east of Nile River in South Sudan within the clay plains and wetlands, and though occurring in substantial numbers in the Boma National Park, it is reported to be found more outside the protected area. Its migration route and population during the summer and monsoon seasons have been recorded. Its migration route over the dry and wet seasons, which is dictated by the variation in rainfall and flooding from year to year, extends over 1,600 kilometres (990 mi); it encompasses different eco-regions in various tribal belts and exposes the species to hunting threats. In comparison to the wet season count of 680,716 in 1980 (849,365 in dry season), the UNEP survey of 2001 reported only 176,120 during the wet season (although the two studies are not directly comparable).
Southern National Park 
A.B. Anderson, a former Assistant Game Warden, reported that in the mid-20th century the Sudan's Southern National Park was spread over an area of 7,800 square miles (20,000 km2). It was drained by three rivers: the Sue River to the west, a well-defined channel that joined the Nile; the Gel River to the east; and the Ibba River in the centre of the park. The Gel and Ibba Rivers, after flowing through the park, formed a flood plain which made the habitat swampy. Bushveld, true rainforest vegetation, forests in laterite soils and gallery forests were found in the park. During the monsoon season, the park had extensive grassland that grew up to about 15 feet (4.6 m). The soil was generally of whitish clay and there were sandy valleys. The park was thinly populated and visited by very few tourists. Hunting, fishing and honey collection were the common vocations of the people living in the park area. He identified aquafauna in the rivers flowing through the park as Gymnarchus niloticus, an eel-like fish, tilapia, Polypterus bichir, lung fish, catfish, and a few crocodiles. Mammals reported by to have been present in the park in during Anderson's time in Southern Sudan were giant eland, waterbuck, kob, hartebeest, korrigum, buffalo, giraffe, oribi, white rhino, reedbuck, lion, colobus monkey, various galagos including the Senegal bushbaby, and giant forest hog (Hylochoerus meinertzhageni). Anderson also reported that Marabou Storks and pelicans were present in some regions of the park.
Bird species recorded in the flooded grasslands of Southern Sudan are the Black Crowned Crane (Balearica pavonina), Pink-backed Pelican (Pelecanus rufescens), Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis) and Saddle-billed Stork (Ephippiorhynchus senegalensis).
Bushmeat is cheaper than beef, fish or chicken in many wildlife areas of South Sudan, and hence is exploited as a food source and also for trading. As a result, wild animals such as white-eared kob, tiang and Mongalla gazelle are hunted in large numbers (according to an evaluation of results from a sample survey of a few villages in the Boma National Park). This has created pressure on the wildlife of the park that necessitates effective conservation measures. Internal wars which lasted for two decades have also been a cause for lack of effective management of the protected areas. Even though the military control of the area provided some degree of protection, hunting for bushmeat continued. The wildlife protection forces were reported to be hardly adequate considering the large number of protected areas which has resulted in extensive exploitation of wildlife by poaching; extensive surveys carried out in the Boma National Park confirmed this situation. Another factor that poses threat to wildlife in South Sudan is encroachment on the savannah land areas for cultivation.
Planned development activities, particularly those for roads in the protected areas, are infringing on the migration routes of the white-eared kob. Wildlife rangers (a force of 7,300 men which was created from the disbanded armed men after the conflict ended, as of 2006) are also in conflict with the local pastoralists and poachers; this has been particularly noted in the Boma National Park.
The Wildlife Conservation Directorate of the Government of South Sudan (GOSS) and the Ministry of Environment, Wildlife Conservation and Tourism share the mandate for the management of the wildlife and the protected areas South Sudan. As of 2011, there is no legislation on wildlife and protected area management from GOSS as, although there is some funding available, the fledgling government departments suffer from shortages of facilities, materials and skilled workers. A Commission on Wildlife set up by the Sudan People's Liberation Movement had formerly provided some direction to areas under its control.
In 2005, the Wildlife Conservation Society, an international NGO, established a collaborative project with the Government of Southern Sudan to create a workforce for the purpose for specific projects. The first initiative undertaken in 2007 was an aerial survey to assess the wildlife population in Southern Sudan.
The UNEP has concluded that putting an end to bushmeat hunting is not workable, and proposed the establishment of a system of sustainable harvesting that would involve the local communities who would have the major responsibility caring for these resources.
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