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Aid for Gaza will soon flow from pier project just finished by US military, Pentagon says

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Aid for Gaza will soon flow from pier project just finished by US military, Pentagon says
News

News

Aid for Gaza will soon flow from pier project just finished by US military, Pentagon says

2024-05-17 06:08 Last Updated At:06:10

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Pentagon said Thursday that humanitarian aid will soon begin flowing onto the Gaza shore through the new pier that was anchored to the beach and will begin reaching those in need almost immediately.

Sabrina Singh, Pentagon spokeswoman, told reporters that the U.S. believes there will be no backups in the distribution of the aid, which is being coordinated by the United Nations.

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The image provided by U.S, Central Command, shows U.S. Army soldiers assigned to the 7th Transportation Brigade (Expeditionary), U.S. Navy sailors assigned to Amphibious Construction Battalion 1, and Israel Defense Forces placing the Trident Pier on the coast of Gaza Strip on Thursday, May 16, 2024. The temporary pier is part of the Joint Logistics Over-the-Shore capability. The U.S. military finished installing the floating pier on Thursday, with officials poised to begin ferrying badly needed humanitarian aid into the enclave besieged over seven months of intense fighting in the Israel-Hamas war. (U.S. Central Command via AP)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Pentagon said Thursday that humanitarian aid will soon begin flowing onto the Gaza shore through the new pier that was anchored to the beach and will begin reaching those in need almost immediately.

The image provided by U.S, Central Command, shows U.S. Army soldiers assigned to the 7th Transportation Brigade (Expeditionary), U.S. Navy sailors assigned to Amphibious Construction Battalion 1, and Israel Defense Forces placing the Trident Pier on the coast of Gaza Strip on Thursday, May 16, 2024. The temporary pier is part of the Joint Logistics Over-the-Shore capability. The U.S. military finished installing the floating pier on Thursday, with officials poised to begin ferrying badly needed humanitarian aid into the enclave besieged over seven months of intense fighting in the Israel-Hamas war. (U.S. Central Command via AP)

The image provided by U.S, Central Command, shows U.S. Army soldiers assigned to the 7th Transportation Brigade (Expeditionary), U.S. Navy sailors assigned to Amphibious Construction Battalion 1, and Israel Defense Forces placing the Trident Pier on the coast of Gaza Strip on Thursday, May 16, 2024. The temporary pier is part of the Joint Logistics Over-the-Shore capability. The U.S. military finished installing the floating pier on Thursday, with officials poised to begin ferrying badly needed humanitarian aid into the enclave besieged over seven months of intense fighting in the Israel-Hamas war. (U.S. Central Command via AP)

The image provided by U.S, Central Command, shows U.S. Army soldiers assigned to the 7th Transportation Brigade (Expeditionary), U.S. Navy sailors assigned to Amphibious Construction Battalion 1, and Israel Defense Forces placing the Trident Pier on the coast of Gaza Strip on Thursday, May 16, 2024. The temporary pier is part of the Joint Logistics Over-the-Shore capability. The U.S. military finished installing the floating pier on Thursday, with officials poised to begin ferrying badly needed humanitarian aid into the enclave besieged over seven months of intense fighting in the Israel-Hamas war. (U.S. Central Command via AP)

The image provided by U.S, Central Command, shows U.S. Army soldiers assigned to the 7th Transportation Brigade (Expeditionary), U.S. Navy sailors assigned to Amphibious Construction Battalion 1, and Israel Defense Forces placing the Trident Pier on the coast of Gaza Strip on Thursday, May 16, 2024. The temporary pier is part of the Joint Logistics Over-the-Shore capability. The U.S. military finished installing the floating pier on Thursday, with officials poised to begin ferrying badly needed humanitarian aid into the enclave besieged over seven months of intense fighting in the Israel-Hamas war. (U.S. Central Command via AP)

A ship is seen off the coast of Gaza near a U.S.-built floating pier that will be used to facilitate aid deliveries, as seen from the central Gaza Strip, Thursday, May 16, 2024. (AP Photo/Abdel Kareem Hana)

A ship is seen off the coast of Gaza near a U.S.-built floating pier that will be used to facilitate aid deliveries, as seen from the central Gaza Strip, Thursday, May 16, 2024. (AP Photo/Abdel Kareem Hana)

A ship is seen off the coast of Gaza near a U.S.-built floating pier that will be used to facilitate aid deliveries, as seen from the central Gaza Strip, Thursday, May 16, 2024. (AP Photo/Abdel Kareem Hana)

A ship is seen off the coast of Gaza near a U.S.-built floating pier that will be used to facilitate aid deliveries, as seen from the central Gaza Strip, Thursday, May 16, 2024. (AP Photo/Abdel Kareem Hana)

A ship is seen off the coast of Gaza near a U.S.-built floating pier that will be used to facilitate aid deliveries, as seen from the central Gaza Strip, Thursday, May 16, 2024. (AP Photo/Abdel Kareem Hana)

A ship is seen off the coast of Gaza near a U.S.-built floating pier that will be used to facilitate aid deliveries, as seen from the central Gaza Strip, Thursday, May 16, 2024. (AP Photo/Abdel Kareem Hana)

A ship is seen off the coast of Gaza near a U.S.-built floating pier that will be used to facilitate aid deliveries, as seen from the central Gaza Strip, Thursday, May 16, 2024. (AP Photo/Abdel Kareem Hana)

A ship is seen off the coast of Gaza near a U.S.-built floating pier that will be used to facilitate aid deliveries, as seen from the central Gaza Strip, Thursday, May 16, 2024. (AP Photo/Abdel Kareem Hana)

Humanitarian aid is lifted by a crane operated by soldiers assigned to the 7th Transportation Brigade (Expeditionary) from a Navy causeway at the Port of Ashdod, Israel, May 14, 2024. These soldiers are supporting the construction of the Joint Logistics Over-the-Shore system off the shore of Gaza. (Staff Sgt. Malcolm Cohens-Ashley/U.S. Army via AP)

Humanitarian aid is lifted by a crane operated by soldiers assigned to the 7th Transportation Brigade (Expeditionary) from a Navy causeway at the Port of Ashdod, Israel, May 14, 2024. These soldiers are supporting the construction of the Joint Logistics Over-the-Shore system off the shore of Gaza. (Staff Sgt. Malcolm Cohens-Ashley/U.S. Army via AP)

U.S. Army soldiers assigned to the 7th Transportation Brigade (Expeditionary) use a rope to stabilize humanitarian aid while it is lifted by a crane aboard the MV Roy P. Benavidez to support the Joint Logistics Over-the-shore (JLOTS) operation, in the Port of Ashdod, Israel, May 13, 2024. (Staff Sgt. Malcolm Cohens-Ashley/U.S. Army via AP)

U.S. Army soldiers assigned to the 7th Transportation Brigade (Expeditionary) use a rope to stabilize humanitarian aid while it is lifted by a crane aboard the MV Roy P. Benavidez to support the Joint Logistics Over-the-shore (JLOTS) operation, in the Port of Ashdod, Israel, May 13, 2024. (Staff Sgt. Malcolm Cohens-Ashley/U.S. Army via AP)

US military says Gaza Strip pier project is completed, aid to soon flow as Israel-Hamas war rages on

US military says Gaza Strip pier project is completed, aid to soon flow as Israel-Hamas war rages on

US military says Gaza Strip pier project is completed, aid to soon flow as Israel-Hamas war rages on

US military says Gaza Strip pier project is completed, aid to soon flow as Israel-Hamas war rages on

In this image provided by the U.S. Army, soldiers assigned to the 7th Transportation Brigade (Expeditionary) and sailors attached to the MV Roy P. Benavidez assemble the Roll-On, Roll-Off Distribution Facility (RRDF), or floating pier, off the shore of Gaza on April 26, 2024. The U.S. expects to have on-the-ground arrangements in Gaza ready for humanitarian workers to start delivering aid this month via a new U.S.-backed sea route for Gaza aid. An official with the U.S. Agency for International Development tells the AP that humanitarian groups expect to have their part of preparations complete by early to mid-month. (U.S. Army via AP)

In this image provided by the U.S. Army, soldiers assigned to the 7th Transportation Brigade (Expeditionary) and sailors attached to the MV Roy P. Benavidez assemble the Roll-On, Roll-Off Distribution Facility (RRDF), or floating pier, off the shore of Gaza on April 26, 2024. The U.S. expects to have on-the-ground arrangements in Gaza ready for humanitarian workers to start delivering aid this month via a new U.S.-backed sea route for Gaza aid. An official with the U.S. Agency for International Development tells the AP that humanitarian groups expect to have their part of preparations complete by early to mid-month. (U.S. Army via AP)

The U.N., however, said fuel imports have all but stopped and this will make it extremely difficult to deliver the aid to Gaza’s people, all 2.3 million of whom are in acute need of food and other supplies after seven months of intense fighting between Israel and Hamas.

“We desperately need fuel,” U.N. deputy spokesman Farhan Haq said. “It doesn’t matter how the aid comes, whether it’s by sea or whether by land, without fuel, aid won’t get to the people.”

Singh said the issue of fuel deliveries comes up in all conversations with the Israelis.

The U.S. military finished installing a floating pier off the Gaza Strip early Thursday, and officials were making final checks before trucks begin driving onto the shore to deliver pallets of aid.

The pier project, expected to cost $320 million, was ordered more than two months ago by U.S. President Joe Biden to help starving Palestinians as Israeli restrictions on border crossings and heavy fighting hinder food and other supplies from making it into Gaza.

Fraught with logistical, weather and security challenges, the pier project is not considered a substitute for far cheaper deliveries by land that aid agencies say are much more sustainable.

The boatloads of aid will be deposited at a port facility built by the Israelis just southwest of Gaza City and then distributed by aid groups.

U.S. officials said Thursday as much as 500 tons of food will begin arriving on the Gaza shore within days and that the U.S. has closely coordinated with Israel on how to protect the ships and personnel working on the beach.

But there are still questions on how aid groups will safely operate in Gaza to distribute food to those who need it most, said Sonali Korde, assistant to the administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development's Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance, which is helping with logistics.

“There is a very insecure operating environment" and aid groups are still struggling to get clearance for their planned movements in Gaza, Korde said. Those talks with the Israeli military “need to get to a place where humanitarian aid workers feel safe and secure and able to operate safely. And I don’t think we’re there yet.”

Fighting between Israeli troops and Palestinian militants on the outskirts of the southern city of Rafah as well as Israel restarting combat operations in parts of northern Gaza have displaced some 700,000 people, U.N. officials say. Israel recently seized the key Rafah border crossing in its push against Hamas.

Pentagon officials say the fighting isn’t threatening the new shoreline aid distribution area, but they have made it clear that security conditions will be monitored closely and could prompt a shutdown of the maritime route, even just temporarily.

Already, the site has been targeted by mortar fire during its construction, and Hamas has threatened to target any foreign forces who “occupy” the Gaza Strip.

The “protection of U.S. forces participating is a top priority. And as such, in the last several weeks, the United States and Israel have developed an integrated security plan to protect all the personnel," said Navy Vice Adm. Brad Cooper, a deputy commander at the U.S. military's Central Command. "We are confident in the ability of this security arrangement to protect those involved.”

Central Command stressed that none of its forces entered the Gaza Strip to secure the pier and would not during its operations. It said trucks with aid would move ashore in the coming days and "the United Nations will receive the aid and coordinate its distribution into Gaza.”

The World Food Program will be the U.N. agency handling the aid, officials said.

Israeli forces will be in charge of security on shore, but there are also two U.S. Navy warships nearby, the USS Arleigh Burke and the USS Paul Ignatius. Both are destroyers equipped with a wide range of weapons and capabilities to protect American troops offshore and allies on the beach.

Israeli military spokesman Lt. Col. Nadav Shoshani confirmed that the pier had been attached and that Israeli engineering units had flattened ground around the area and surfaced roads for trucks.

“We have been working for months on full cooperation with (the U.S. military) on this project, facilitating it, supporting it in any way possible,” Shoshani said. “It’s a top priority in our operation.”

The U.N., U.S. and international aid groups say Israel is allowing only a fraction of the normal pre-war deliveries of food and other supplies into Gaza since Hamas' attacks on Israel launched the war in October. Aid agencies say they are running out of food in southern Gaza and fuel is dwindling, while USAID and the World Food Program say famine has taken hold in Gaza’s north.

Israel says it places no limits on the entry of humanitarian aid and blames the U.N. for delays in distributing goods entering Gaza. The U.N. says fighting, Israeli fire and chaotic security conditions have hindered delivery. Under pressure from the U.S., Israel has in recent weeks opened a pair of crossings to deliver aid into hard-hit northern Gaza and said that a series of Hamas attacks on the main crossing, Kerem Shalom, have disrupted the flow of goods.

The first cargo ship loaded with food left Cyprus last week and the cargo was transferred to a U.S. military ship, the Roy P. Benavidez, off the coast of Gaza.

Military leaders have said the deliveries of aid will begin slowly to ensure the system works. They will start with about 90 truckloads of aid a day through the sea route, and that number will quickly grow to about 150 a day. Aid agencies say that isn't enough and must be just one part of a broader Israeli effort to open land corridors.

Because land crossings could bring in all the needed aid if Israeli officials allowed it, the U.S.-built pier-and-sea route “is a solution for a problem that doesn’t exist,” said Scott Paul, an associate director of the Oxfam humanitarian organization.

Under the new sea route, humanitarian aid is dropped off in Cyprus where it will undergo inspection and security checks at Larnaca port. It is then loaded onto ships and taken about 200 miles (320 kilometers) to the large floating pier built by the U.S. military off the Gaza coast.

There, the pallets are transferred onto trucks, driven onto smaller Army boats and then shuttled several miles (kilometers) to the causeway anchored to the beach. The trucks, which are being driven by personnel from another country, will go down the causeway into a secure area on land where they will drop off the aid and immediately turn around and return to the boats.

Aid groups will collect the supplies for distribution.

Associated Press writers Jon Gambrell in Dubai, United Arab Emirates and Julia Frankel in Tel Aviv, Israel, contributed to this report.

The image provided by U.S, Central Command, shows U.S. Army soldiers assigned to the 7th Transportation Brigade (Expeditionary), U.S. Navy sailors assigned to Amphibious Construction Battalion 1, and Israel Defense Forces placing the Trident Pier on the coast of Gaza Strip on Thursday, May 16, 2024. The temporary pier is part of the Joint Logistics Over-the-Shore capability. The U.S. military finished installing the floating pier on Thursday, with officials poised to begin ferrying badly needed humanitarian aid into the enclave besieged over seven months of intense fighting in the Israel-Hamas war. (U.S. Central Command via AP)

The image provided by U.S, Central Command, shows U.S. Army soldiers assigned to the 7th Transportation Brigade (Expeditionary), U.S. Navy sailors assigned to Amphibious Construction Battalion 1, and Israel Defense Forces placing the Trident Pier on the coast of Gaza Strip on Thursday, May 16, 2024. The temporary pier is part of the Joint Logistics Over-the-Shore capability. The U.S. military finished installing the floating pier on Thursday, with officials poised to begin ferrying badly needed humanitarian aid into the enclave besieged over seven months of intense fighting in the Israel-Hamas war. (U.S. Central Command via AP)

The image provided by U.S, Central Command, shows U.S. Army soldiers assigned to the 7th Transportation Brigade (Expeditionary), U.S. Navy sailors assigned to Amphibious Construction Battalion 1, and Israel Defense Forces placing the Trident Pier on the coast of Gaza Strip on Thursday, May 16, 2024. The temporary pier is part of the Joint Logistics Over-the-Shore capability. The U.S. military finished installing the floating pier on Thursday, with officials poised to begin ferrying badly needed humanitarian aid into the enclave besieged over seven months of intense fighting in the Israel-Hamas war. (U.S. Central Command via AP)

The image provided by U.S, Central Command, shows U.S. Army soldiers assigned to the 7th Transportation Brigade (Expeditionary), U.S. Navy sailors assigned to Amphibious Construction Battalion 1, and Israel Defense Forces placing the Trident Pier on the coast of Gaza Strip on Thursday, May 16, 2024. The temporary pier is part of the Joint Logistics Over-the-Shore capability. The U.S. military finished installing the floating pier on Thursday, with officials poised to begin ferrying badly needed humanitarian aid into the enclave besieged over seven months of intense fighting in the Israel-Hamas war. (U.S. Central Command via AP)

The image provided by U.S, Central Command, shows U.S. Army soldiers assigned to the 7th Transportation Brigade (Expeditionary), U.S. Navy sailors assigned to Amphibious Construction Battalion 1, and Israel Defense Forces placing the Trident Pier on the coast of Gaza Strip on Thursday, May 16, 2024. The temporary pier is part of the Joint Logistics Over-the-Shore capability. The U.S. military finished installing the floating pier on Thursday, with officials poised to begin ferrying badly needed humanitarian aid into the enclave besieged over seven months of intense fighting in the Israel-Hamas war. (U.S. Central Command via AP)

The image provided by U.S, Central Command, shows U.S. Army soldiers assigned to the 7th Transportation Brigade (Expeditionary), U.S. Navy sailors assigned to Amphibious Construction Battalion 1, and Israel Defense Forces placing the Trident Pier on the coast of Gaza Strip on Thursday, May 16, 2024. The temporary pier is part of the Joint Logistics Over-the-Shore capability. The U.S. military finished installing the floating pier on Thursday, with officials poised to begin ferrying badly needed humanitarian aid into the enclave besieged over seven months of intense fighting in the Israel-Hamas war. (U.S. Central Command via AP)

A ship is seen off the coast of Gaza near a U.S.-built floating pier that will be used to facilitate aid deliveries, as seen from the central Gaza Strip, Thursday, May 16, 2024. (AP Photo/Abdel Kareem Hana)

A ship is seen off the coast of Gaza near a U.S.-built floating pier that will be used to facilitate aid deliveries, as seen from the central Gaza Strip, Thursday, May 16, 2024. (AP Photo/Abdel Kareem Hana)

A ship is seen off the coast of Gaza near a U.S.-built floating pier that will be used to facilitate aid deliveries, as seen from the central Gaza Strip, Thursday, May 16, 2024. (AP Photo/Abdel Kareem Hana)

A ship is seen off the coast of Gaza near a U.S.-built floating pier that will be used to facilitate aid deliveries, as seen from the central Gaza Strip, Thursday, May 16, 2024. (AP Photo/Abdel Kareem Hana)

A ship is seen off the coast of Gaza near a U.S.-built floating pier that will be used to facilitate aid deliveries, as seen from the central Gaza Strip, Thursday, May 16, 2024. (AP Photo/Abdel Kareem Hana)

A ship is seen off the coast of Gaza near a U.S.-built floating pier that will be used to facilitate aid deliveries, as seen from the central Gaza Strip, Thursday, May 16, 2024. (AP Photo/Abdel Kareem Hana)

A ship is seen off the coast of Gaza near a U.S.-built floating pier that will be used to facilitate aid deliveries, as seen from the central Gaza Strip, Thursday, May 16, 2024. (AP Photo/Abdel Kareem Hana)

A ship is seen off the coast of Gaza near a U.S.-built floating pier that will be used to facilitate aid deliveries, as seen from the central Gaza Strip, Thursday, May 16, 2024. (AP Photo/Abdel Kareem Hana)

Humanitarian aid is lifted by a crane operated by soldiers assigned to the 7th Transportation Brigade (Expeditionary) from a Navy causeway at the Port of Ashdod, Israel, May 14, 2024. These soldiers are supporting the construction of the Joint Logistics Over-the-Shore system off the shore of Gaza. (Staff Sgt. Malcolm Cohens-Ashley/U.S. Army via AP)

Humanitarian aid is lifted by a crane operated by soldiers assigned to the 7th Transportation Brigade (Expeditionary) from a Navy causeway at the Port of Ashdod, Israel, May 14, 2024. These soldiers are supporting the construction of the Joint Logistics Over-the-Shore system off the shore of Gaza. (Staff Sgt. Malcolm Cohens-Ashley/U.S. Army via AP)

U.S. Army soldiers assigned to the 7th Transportation Brigade (Expeditionary) use a rope to stabilize humanitarian aid while it is lifted by a crane aboard the MV Roy P. Benavidez to support the Joint Logistics Over-the-shore (JLOTS) operation, in the Port of Ashdod, Israel, May 13, 2024. (Staff Sgt. Malcolm Cohens-Ashley/U.S. Army via AP)

U.S. Army soldiers assigned to the 7th Transportation Brigade (Expeditionary) use a rope to stabilize humanitarian aid while it is lifted by a crane aboard the MV Roy P. Benavidez to support the Joint Logistics Over-the-shore (JLOTS) operation, in the Port of Ashdod, Israel, May 13, 2024. (Staff Sgt. Malcolm Cohens-Ashley/U.S. Army via AP)

US military says Gaza Strip pier project is completed, aid to soon flow as Israel-Hamas war rages on

US military says Gaza Strip pier project is completed, aid to soon flow as Israel-Hamas war rages on

US military says Gaza Strip pier project is completed, aid to soon flow as Israel-Hamas war rages on

US military says Gaza Strip pier project is completed, aid to soon flow as Israel-Hamas war rages on

In this image provided by the U.S. Army, soldiers assigned to the 7th Transportation Brigade (Expeditionary) and sailors attached to the MV Roy P. Benavidez assemble the Roll-On, Roll-Off Distribution Facility (RRDF), or floating pier, off the shore of Gaza on April 26, 2024. The U.S. expects to have on-the-ground arrangements in Gaza ready for humanitarian workers to start delivering aid this month via a new U.S.-backed sea route for Gaza aid. An official with the U.S. Agency for International Development tells the AP that humanitarian groups expect to have their part of preparations complete by early to mid-month. (U.S. Army via AP)

In this image provided by the U.S. Army, soldiers assigned to the 7th Transportation Brigade (Expeditionary) and sailors attached to the MV Roy P. Benavidez assemble the Roll-On, Roll-Off Distribution Facility (RRDF), or floating pier, off the shore of Gaza on April 26, 2024. The U.S. expects to have on-the-ground arrangements in Gaza ready for humanitarian workers to start delivering aid this month via a new U.S.-backed sea route for Gaza aid. An official with the U.S. Agency for International Development tells the AP that humanitarian groups expect to have their part of preparations complete by early to mid-month. (U.S. Army via AP)

BADINGILO and BOMA NATIONAL PARKS, South Sudan (AP) — Seen from the air, they ripple across the landscape — a river of antelope racing across the vast grasslands of South Sudan in what conservationists say is the world's largest land mammal migration.

The country's first comprehensive aerial wildlife survey, released Tuesday, found about 6 million antelope. The survey over a two-week period last year in two national parks and nearby areas relied on spotters in airplanes, nearly 60,000 photos and tracking more than a hundred collared animals over about 46,000 square miles (120,000 square kilometers).

The estimate from the nonprofit African Parks, which conducted the work along with the government, far surpasses other large migratory herds such as the estimated 1.36 million wildebeests surveyed last year in the Serengeti straddling Tanzania and Kenya. But they warned that the animals face a rising threat from commercial poaching in a nation rife with weapons and without strong law enforcement.

“Saving the last great migration of wildlife on the planet is an incredibly important thing," said Mike Fay, a conservation scientist who led the survey. “There’s so much evidence that the world’s ecosystems are collapsing, the world resources are being severely degraded and it’s causing gigantic disruption on the planet.”

The east African nation is still emerging from five years of fighting that erupted in 2013 and killed nearly 400,000 people. Elections scheduled for last year were postponed to this December, but few preparations are in place for those. Violence continues in some areas, with some 2 million people displaced and 9 million — 75% of the population — reliant on humanitarian aid, according to the United Nations.

The migration is already being touted as a point of national pride by a country trying to move beyond its conflict-riddled past. Billboards of the migration recently went up in the capital of Juba, and the government has aspirations that the animals may someday be a magnet for tourists.

South Sudan has six national parks and a dozen game reserves covering more than 13% of the terrain. The migration stretches from east of the Nile in Badingilo and Boma parks into neighboring Ethiopia — an area roughly the size of the U.S. state of Georgia. It includes four main antelope, the white-eared kob — of which there are some 5 million — the tiang, the Mongalla gazelle and bohor reedbuck.

The survey said some animals have increased since a more limited one in 2010. But it described a “catastrophic” decline of most non-migratory species in the last 40 years, such as the hippo, elephant and warthog. Associated Press journalists flying over the stunning migration of thousands of antelope last week saw few giraffes and no elephants, lions or cheetahs.

Trying to protect the animals over such a vast terrain is challenging.

In recent years, new roads have increased people's access to markets, contributing to poaching. Years of flooding have meant crop failures that have left some people with little choice but to hunt for food. Some 30,000 animals were being killed each month between March and May this year, African Parks estimated.

The government hasn't made a priority of protecting wildlife. Less than 1% of its budget is allocated to the wildlife ministry, which said it has few cars to move rangers around to protect animals. Those rangers say they haven't been paid a salary since October and are outgunned by poachers.

South Sudan President H.E. Salva Kiir Mayardit said the country is committed to turning its wealth of wildlife into sustainable tourism. He called on the Ministry of Wildlife to prioritize training and equipping rangers to fight poaching.

Matthew Kauffman, an associate professor of zoology at the University of Wyoming who specializes in research into migration and ecosystems, said the work fits a growing global effort “to map these migrations." One benefit is to be smarter when landscapes are developed to make way for these seasonal movements, he said.

Villagers near the parks told AP they mostly hunted to feed their families or to barter for goods.

A newly paved road between Juba and Bor — the epicenter of the illegal commercial bushmeat trade — has made it easier for trucks to carry large quantities of animals. Bor sits along the Nile, about 27 miles (45 kilometers) from Badingilo Park. In the dry season, animals coming closer to the town to drink are vulnerable to killing.

Officials at the wildlife ministry in Bor told AP the killing of animals had doubled in the last two years.

Even when those involved in the industry are caught, the consequences can be minor. A few years ago, when wildlife rangers came to arrest Lina Garang for selling animals, she said they let her go, instead telling her to conduct business more discreetly. Garang, 38, said her competition has only grown, with 15 new shops opening along her strip to buy and sell animals.

Part of the challenge is that there is no national land management plan, so roads and infrastructure are built without initial discussions about where best placed. The government’s also allocated an oil concession to a South African company in the middle of Badingilo that spans nearly 90% of the park.

African Parks is trying to square modernizing the country with preserving the wildlife. The organization has been criticized in the past for not engaging enough with communities and taking an overly militarized approach in some of the nearly two dozen areas it manages in Africa.

The group says its strategy in South Sudan is focused on community relations and aligning the benefits of wildlife and economic development. One plan is to create land conservancies that local communities would manage, with input from national authorities.

African Parks has set up small hubs in several remote villages and is spreading messages of sustainable practices, such as not killing female or baby animals.

Peter Alberto, undersecretary for the ministry of wildlife, conservation and tourism, said the government hopes the migration can become a point of pride, and reshape how the world thinks of South Sudan.

As for tourism, that may take a while. There aren't hotels or roads to host people near the parks, and the only option is high-end trips for what one tour company official called a “high-risk” audience. There’s fighting between tribes and attacks by gunmen in the area, and pilots told AP they’ve been shot at while flying.

Will Jones, chief exploration officer for Journeys by Design, a UK-based tour company, charges roughly $150,000 per person for a weeklong tour in South Sudan. He said there isn't strong demand.

Locals trying to protect the wildlife say it’s hard to shift people's mentality.

In the remote village of Otallo on the border with Ethiopia, young men have started buying motorbikes. What had been an all-day trip on foot to cross the border to sell animals now takes just five hours, allowing them to double the number of animals they take and make multiple trips.

One of them, Charo Ochogi, said he'd rather be doing something else but there are few options, and he's not worried about the animals disappearing.

“The kob isn't going to finish. They'll reproduce,” he said.

The Associated Press’ climate and environmental coverage receives financial support from multiple private foundations. AP is solely responsible for all content. Find AP’s standards for working with philanthropies, a list of supporters and funded coverage areas at AP.org.

A plane surveys animals while flying over national parks and the surrounding areas in South Sudan, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. South Sudan's most comprehensive aerial wildlife survey found about 6 million antelope. They used spotters in airplanes, analysis of nearly 60,000 photos and tracking of more than a hundred collared animals. (AP Photo/Brian Inganga)

A plane surveys animals while flying over national parks and the surrounding areas in South Sudan, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. South Sudan's most comprehensive aerial wildlife survey found about 6 million antelope. They used spotters in airplanes, analysis of nearly 60,000 photos and tracking of more than a hundred collared animals. (AP Photo/Brian Inganga)

Tiang, a type of the antelope, hide under a tree in South Sudan's national parks and the surrounding areas, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. The country's first comprehensive aerial wildlife survey, released Tuesday, June 25, found about 6 million antelope. (AP Photo/Brian Inganga)

Tiang, a type of the antelope, hide under a tree in South Sudan's national parks and the surrounding areas, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. The country's first comprehensive aerial wildlife survey, released Tuesday, June 25, found about 6 million antelope. (AP Photo/Brian Inganga)

A woman works with flour in Lafon, South Sudan, Tuesday, June 18, 2024. African Parks has set up small hubs in several remote villages and is spreading messages of sustainable practices, such as not killing female or baby animals. (AP Photo/Brian Inganga)

A woman works with flour in Lafon, South Sudan, Tuesday, June 18, 2024. African Parks has set up small hubs in several remote villages and is spreading messages of sustainable practices, such as not killing female or baby animals. (AP Photo/Brian Inganga)

Cows are visible in Otallo village, South Sudan, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. African Parks has set up small hubs in several remote villages and is spreading messages of sustainable practices, such as not killing female or baby animals. (AP Photo/Brian Inganga)

Cows are visible in Otallo village, South Sudan, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. African Parks has set up small hubs in several remote villages and is spreading messages of sustainable practices, such as not killing female or baby animals. (AP Photo/Brian Inganga)

Women work with flour in Otallo village, South Sudan, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. African Parks has set up small hubs in several remote villages and is spreading messages of sustainable practices, such as not killing female or baby animals. (AP Photo/Brian Inganga)

Women work with flour in Otallo village, South Sudan, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. African Parks has set up small hubs in several remote villages and is spreading messages of sustainable practices, such as not killing female or baby animals. (AP Photo/Brian Inganga)

A village is visible near the Badingilo National Park, South Sudan, Tuesday, June 18, 2024. Villagers nestled in and around the park told AP they mostly hunted to feed their families or to barter for goods. (AP Photo/Brian Inganga)

A village is visible near the Badingilo National Park, South Sudan, Tuesday, June 18, 2024. Villagers nestled in and around the park told AP they mostly hunted to feed their families or to barter for goods. (AP Photo/Brian Inganga)

Giraffes migrate in national parks and the surrounding areas, in South Sudan, Tuesday, June 18, 2024. Associated Press journalists flying over the stunning migration of thousands of antelope saw few giraffes and no elephants, lions or cheetahs. (AP Photo/Brian Inganga)

Giraffes migrate in national parks and the surrounding areas, in South Sudan, Tuesday, June 18, 2024. Associated Press journalists flying over the stunning migration of thousands of antelope saw few giraffes and no elephants, lions or cheetahs. (AP Photo/Brian Inganga)

A woman carries antelope skin outside her house in Otallo village, South Sudan, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. The country's first comprehensive aerial wildlife survey, released Tuesday, June 25, found about 6 million antelope. (AP Photo/Brian Inganga)

A woman carries antelope skin outside her house in Otallo village, South Sudan, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. The country's first comprehensive aerial wildlife survey, released Tuesday, June 25, found about 6 million antelope. (AP Photo/Brian Inganga)

Antelope run through a field as they migrate in national parks and the surrounding areas, South Sudan Wednesday, June 19, 2024. The country's first comprehensive aerial wildlife survey, released Tuesday, Jan. 25, found about 6 million antelope. (AP Photo/Brian Inganga)

Antelope run through a field as they migrate in national parks and the surrounding areas, South Sudan Wednesday, June 19, 2024. The country's first comprehensive aerial wildlife survey, released Tuesday, Jan. 25, found about 6 million antelope. (AP Photo/Brian Inganga)

Local Scouts, who are taught about the importance of protecting the environment and building skills, gather in Lafon village, South Sudan Tuesday, June 18, 2024. African Parks is trying to square modernizing the country with preserving the wildlife. (AP Photo/Brian Inganga)

Local Scouts, who are taught about the importance of protecting the environment and building skills, gather in Lafon village, South Sudan Tuesday, June 18, 2024. African Parks is trying to square modernizing the country with preserving the wildlife. (AP Photo/Brian Inganga)

David Luwaya, an African Parks staff member, speaks during an interview with The Associated Press in Lafon village, South Sudan, Tuesday, June 18, 2024. African Parks is trying to square modernizing the country with preserving the wildlife. (AP Photo/Brian Inganga)

David Luwaya, an African Parks staff member, speaks during an interview with The Associated Press in Lafon village, South Sudan, Tuesday, June 18, 2024. African Parks is trying to square modernizing the country with preserving the wildlife. (AP Photo/Brian Inganga)

A woman stands near a killed bushbuck in Bor, South Sudan, Thursday, June 20, 2024. A newly paved road between Juba and Bor — the epicenter of the illegal commercial bushmeat trade — has made it easier for trucks to carry large quantities of animals. (AP Photo/Brian Inganga)

A woman stands near a killed bushbuck in Bor, South Sudan, Thursday, June 20, 2024. A newly paved road between Juba and Bor — the epicenter of the illegal commercial bushmeat trade — has made it easier for trucks to carry large quantities of animals. (AP Photo/Brian Inganga)

Charo Ochogi poses for a photo in Otallo village, South Sudan, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. Ochogi said he's not worried about the animals disappearing. (AP Photo/Brian Inganga)

Charo Ochogi poses for a photo in Otallo village, South Sudan, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. Ochogi said he's not worried about the animals disappearing. (AP Photo/Brian Inganga)

Antelope run as they migrate through national parks and surrounding areas in South Sudan, Tuesday, June 18, 2024. The country's first comprehensive aerial wildlife survey, released Tuesday, June 25, found about 6 million antelope. (AP Photo/Brian Inganga)

Antelope run as they migrate through national parks and surrounding areas in South Sudan, Tuesday, June 18, 2024. The country's first comprehensive aerial wildlife survey, released Tuesday, June 25, found about 6 million antelope. (AP Photo/Brian Inganga)

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