Nestled in the far northeast corner of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Garamba National Park is the last holdout for the largest population of elephants and the only surviving population of the Kordofan giraffe in all of Congo.
Nestled in the far northeast corner of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Garamba National Park, which was declared a World Heritage Site in 1980 and is one of Africa’s oldest parks, is the last holdout for the largest population of elephants and the only surviving population of the Kordofan giraffe in all of Congo. Despite being situated in one of the most hostile parts of Africa, Garamba is teeming with life. It is an ancient and majestic landscape of dense forest and savannah which spans 4,900 km², and comprises part of the larger Garamba Complex of 12,500 km², sharing 200 km of its border with war-torn South Sudan.
Tragically, militant ivory and bushmeat poachers have exerted immense pressure on the park and its inhabitants over the past few decades. Just in the 1970’s, there were estimated to be as many as 22,000 elephants; today there are fewer than 1,300. Garamba is on the frontline of the poaching crisis due largely to as a result of the ongoing civil war, deserters from the South Sudanese army, and regional and local terrorist groups who benefit from selling ivory, including the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), a Ugandan terrorist group.
Our vision, however, is to restore security to Garamba and reclaim its former glory through intensive and extensive law enforcement and community engagement in areas beyond the park's borders. Training and equipping park rangers to counter militarised poachers, alongside working with local communities to deliver needed benefits and reduce human impact on natural resources is our primary focus.
We have revised our law enforcement strategy to provide improved protection to Garamba’s rangers and vulnerable species, including Kordofan giraffes and elephants, who are heavily targeted by poachers. Long-termmonitoringg work is currently underway and in May of 2017, 39 elephants were collared bringing the total of 54 that are being monitored in the park.
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