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.
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.
We have revised our law enforcement strategy to provide improved protection for Garamba’s rangers and vulnerable species, including Kordofan giraffes and elephants, who are heavily targeted by poachers. Long-term monitoring work is currently underway and in May of 2017, 39 elephants were collared bringing the total to 44 that are being monitored in the park.
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