Zakouma National Park

Rhinos Return

A Park Restored

The Republic of Chad was historically home to at least two rhino species. The northern white rhino (a subspecies of the white rhino) and the western black rhino (a subspecies of the black rhino), the latter which lived in Zakouma up to 1972. Poaching was the primary cause of both of their local extinctions in Chad. The western black rhino was declared extinct by the IUCN in 2011, and the last male northern white rhino died in March 2018. 

Today, Zakouma National Park, situated in southern Chad, has become a refuge for some of the most important wildlife populations in Central Africa. The park has had a remarkable and recent transformation after decades of poaching once threatened the park’s very existence. In addition to rhinos becoming locally extinct in 1972, poaching also decimated the park's elephant population. In 2002, Zakouma was home to more than 4,000 elephants – but by 2010 after an eight-year onslaught of poaching for their tusks, only 450 remained. However, the park was transformed when African Parks, in partnership with the Government of Chad, assumed management in 2010. We overhauled law enforcement and worked closely with the local communities to protect the park. 

Between 2012 and 2014, not one elephant was lost to poaching In March 2018, 127  new elephant calves under the age of three years old were counted; in 2011 there was only one. Elephants have surpassed 530 individuals and are on the increase for the first time in over a decade.  Zakouma has become a safe haven for Central and West African wildlife and is home to 50 percent of the world’s remaining Kordofan giraffe and hundreds of bird species. As prey populations are on the rise, so are the predators and the park boasts a healthy population of predators. Zakouma is the largest employer in the region; schools have been built and over 1,500 children have received an education, and tourism is on the rise delivering needed resources back to the park and local communities.  African Parks has worked tirelessly for years to make the park safe for the wildlife, the people, and for this historic return of the rhinos. 

The restoration of Zakouma