Deep in the Central African Republic (CAR) lies an unknown wildlife refuge. Few have heard of Chinko, a unique area that spans a vast 17,600 km2 where savannah and tropical forest collide. These mixed habitats have resulted in an extraordinary diversity of wildlife. Even more miraculous is that despite decades of elephant and bushmeat poaching, cattle and herdsman who move through the area, and political insecurity over the years, remnant populations of most key species here have persisted and the ecosystem has remained intact, making this one of the largest ecosystems with the greatest conservation potential in all of central Africa.
The park is home to as many as ten primate species, including a significant population of chimpanzees; five felid species including the highly vulnerable Central African lion, leopard, serval, the rare golden cat, and 19 other carnivore species like the African wild dog and nine mongoose species (the most documented for any one protected area in the world). Twenty-three species of even-toed ungulates including the iconic Lord Derby’s eland and Bongo have been documented; and both forest and savannah elephants exist here, making this one of the last holdouts for elephants in the country. A minimum of 400 bird species have also been identified, and it is believed that as many as 600 could exist.
Communities living around Chinko are among the most marginalised people, not just in Central Africa but on the planet, with little to no infrastructure, employment, education or health services. The community benefits provided by African Parks, such as employment, education and health care, are key to the long-term future of the park.
Chinko is a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) with the CAR Ministry of Environment for Sustainable Development of Water, Forests, Hunting and Fishing and African Parks has a mandate to manage this important protected area for 50 years. This partnership assures that Chinko supports local communities, protects the ecosystem, and maintains economic value through tourism – providing the key to a sustainable future for this thriving ecosystem.View Partners
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