Garamba National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) was declared a World Heritage Site in 1980 and is one of Africa’s oldest parks. This place 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 as a result of the ongoing civil war with deserters from the South Sudanese army, and regional and local terrorist groups including the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) who benefit from killing elephants for the sale of ivory. Our vision however is to restore security to Garamba through intensive and extensive law enforcement, and from community engagement in areas beyond the park's borders. Our key focus is on training and equipping park rangers to counter militarised poachers, and to work with local communities to deliver needed benefits and reduce human impact on natural resources.

Highlights

  • In January 2016 African Parks renewed its management agreement for Garamba for an additional 10 years.
  • Significant numbers of rangers have been recruited and trained in various law enforcement skills. Some of these 220 rangers were selected to form a rapid reaction force.
  • A new helicopter, rapid response teams and digital communication systems have helped improve anti-poaching effectiveness; and we have expanded our sphere of influence where our patrols and monitoring cover the entire park.
  • Thirty-nine elephants received collars in 2017 making up 44 functioning collards for the year – a critical tool in helping to protect this heavily targeted species in the park.
  • The park’s 47 critically endangered Kordofan giraffe are the last remaining of the entire species in the DRC; seven new calves have been confirmed in the last year.
  • The construction of new schools and a hospital has provided surrounding communities with access to education and better healthcare.
  • Garamba is one of the largest employers in the area with over 300 full-time and 900 part-time staff, including law enforcement teams and dedicated community personnel.
  • Environmental education programmes take place at schools throughout the region and 25 nature clubs have been set up at schools outside the park.
  • Almost 9,000 people received treatment from Garamba’s mobile health clinic and in the Nagero Hospital; and more than 1,000 refugees from South Sudan received medical treatment and food from the park in 2016.

Partners

African Parks, and the Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature (ICCN) entered into a partnership in 2005 to manage the park.

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