Not only does Angola LNG ensure its operations comply with local permits and licenses, it undertakes a wide range of projects aimed at protecting and enhancing indigenous ecosystems. Just two examples of this are a sea turtle awareness programme that monitors and protects threatened turtle nests and hatchlings and support for the protection of the Giant Black Sable (Palanca Negra Gigante), a critically endangered species, native only to the province of Malanje in Angola.
Only found in Angola’s Malanje province the Giant Black Sable antelope is one of the most rare and spectacular of all of Africa’s animals.
The jet-black giant sable bull is a magnificent animal, endemic to Angola, where it is revered as a national icon. The Giant Sable - with its distinctive spiralling curve shaped horns - adorn everything from postage stamps to soccer jerseys and also serves as the logo for the Angola LNG project.
It was feared that the Giant Sable had become extinct during Angola’s long civil war. In 2003 the Catholic University of Angola, supported by Angola LNG, launched the Giant Sable conservation project with an initial objective of determining if the species had survived.
It was not until 2005 that the project was able to track a female herd – and capture the first photographs of the Giant Sable in over 20 years.
With continued support from Angola LNG a fenced camp was established in 2009 to create a breeding programme. With an estimated population of fewer than 100 this antelope is still critically endangered, but the conservation programme is working well and the population of Giant Sable antelopes is expected to double in the next few years.
Angola LNG reclaimed about 100 hectares of land with sand to build the plant. As construction of the facility got underway, Olive Ridley sea turtles began to use it as a nesting site.
As a result, Angola LNG and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) created two sea turtle conservation programmes: the Kwanda Island Sea Turtle Conservation Program and Project Sereia.
The focus of the Kwanda Island Sea Turtle Conservation Program is to collect data about the local population of nesting Olive Ridleys, mitigate any risks due to construction activity, and monitor nests in-situ or in a protected hatchery to maximise hatching success.
The Project Sereia Turtle Management Program focuses on the physical safeguarding of sea turtles and their nests as well as educating the community about the importance of preserving the marine turtle population.
WCS staff designed a community-based monitoring and conservation programme during the first two years of the project; following this initial period, Angola LNG staff are now responsible for supervising continued protection.
The turtle management program has been successful in protecting nests. Given the high levels of threat to Olive Ridley turtles in the region from both terrestrial and marine anthropogenic impacts, protection of the Sereia nesting population makes a substantial contribution to the conservation of this globally endangered species.
In addition to the above Angola LNG has also taken steps to preserve the mangrove habitat, as this has great ecological importance to the area, supporting some endangered species and offering nursery and feeding areas for marine fish. Angola LNG has made a commitment to ensure that occupation of land does not affect more than 10% of any mangrove habitat.
Angola LNG has also instigated a number of programmes to monitor the impact of the project on the environment. The Air Quality Control and Monitoring Programme, for example, uses state of the art emission controls to ensure compliance with all applicable environmental laws and regulations.