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Recovery of a War-Torn Ecosystem

May 31st, 2016
Katie Grabowski in Mozambique. Photo courtesy of Katie Grabowski.


The swimming pool at Chitengo Camp is a bright blue circle shaded by trees. It is a tranquil place to relax after a dusty game drive in Gorongosa National Park, but not long ago this inviting oasis was used by rebel forces as a prison.The pool, now ringed with deck chairs, instead of armed guards, is just one small sign of how far Mozambique’s prized park has come since a 15-year civil war broke out in 1977 and the country descended into chaos. “The park was cleaned out,” explained Kathryn Grabowski ’16, a civil and environmental engineering student at Princeton University. “Armed forces swept through the park killing anything they could eat or sell.”

But now, more than twenty years after peace was restored, the rich array of wildlife, which earned the park its nickname: “the place where Noah left his ark,” is on the rebound. It is that slow and complicated recovery process which brought Grabowski to the Park in the summer of 2015, funded by the Becky Colvin ’95 Memorial Award, to study an ecosystem on the rise. The award is presented annually by the Princeton Environmental Institute (PEI) and the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology in support of field research projects critical to the senior thesis.

Read the full story in the News Archive of the Princeton Environmental Institute.

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