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.

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. We have expanded our sphere of influence where now our patrols and monitoring span  the entire park.
  • The park’s 47 critically endangered Kordofan giraffe, are the last remaining Kordofan Giraffe in the DRC; and 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 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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