Situated just south of the Sahara Desert and above the fertile rainforest regions, Zakouma has become a safe haven for Central and West African wildlife including the Kordofan giraffe and elephant, the latter of which had experienced a 95% loss from rampant poaching prior to African Parks’ involvement. Poaching drove a massive decline in the elephant population, from 4,000 in 2002 to just 450 in 2010.

African Parks took over management of the park in 2010, and due to effective law enforcement measures and community networks, poaching has been practically eliminated with only a few individuals being lost in the past six years. The elephant population is finally on the rise, with over 500 individuals counted in 2016, this is the first increase in over a decade.

Security has been restored and Zakouma is now a coveted tourism destination, to the benefit of adjacent communities whose livelihoods have improved considerably. Zakouma is one of the most inspirational conservation success stories of our time.


  • Zakouma was declared a national park in 1963 by Presidential Decree, giving it the highest form of protection available under the laws of Chad.
  • Within two years of taking over management, African parks entirely halted elephant poaching within the extended elephant range.
  • Today the elephant population of Zakouma is on the increase, with new-born calves being observed from mid-2013 onwards and the population now exceeds 500 individuals. Other species in the park are also increasing in number, including giraffe, roan antelope and Lelwel’s hartebeest. The park’s buffalo population, reduced to about 220 animals in 1986, numbers over 10,000 today.
  • Satellite collars have been fitted to elephant herds, allowing the park management team to monitor them and deploy field patrols accordingly.
  • Communities work with the park to ensure the protection of wildlife. By extending the park’s communication network to villages, the flow of information has been improved so that communities can notify park authorities of any suspicious activity or threats.
  • Zakouma is one of the biggest employers in the regions of Salamat and Guera and provides additional opportunities for local income generation through the local procurement of park and tourist camp supplies.
  • The community outreach visits arranged by the park ensure that about 5,000 Chadian children and villagers visit the park each year.
  • A number of new schools, called Elephant Schools, have been built in areas within the elephant migration zone and in 2016, 1,267 children received educations from Zakouma-supported schools.
  • The park’s Tinga Camp, Camp Nomade and Camp Salamat have seen an influx of local and international tourists, providing local employment and trade opportunities.


Zakouma National Park is managed in partnership between African Parks and the Chadian government. The Chadian government and the European Union approached African Parks in 2010 to take on the management responsibility of Zakouma in order to put an end to the ongoing scourge of elephant poaching. The mandate agreement was signed in June 2010 and African Parks commenced management of the park and periphery in the October of the same year.