Situated just south of the Sahara desert and above the fertile rainforest regions, Zakouma is one of the last remaining intact Sudano-Sahelian ecosystems. This extremely important protected area was declared a National Park by the Chadian government in 1963. However, poaching drove a massive decline in the elephant population, from 4,000 in 2002 to just 450 in 2010.
Since African Parks took over management the elephant population stabilised and is now finally on the increase, due to improved management and a more effective anti-poaching strategy. With giraffe, roan antelope, tiang, Lelwel’s hartebeest and buffalo populations all on the rise, Zakouma is once again emerging as a coveted tourist destination to the benefit of adjacent communities whose livelihoods have improved considerably.
The formation of a specialist Rapid Response Unit as part of a stringent anti-poaching strategy has almost completely halted poaching within the park.
Satellite collars have been fitted to elephant herds, allowing the park management team to monitor them and deploy field patrols accordingly.
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.
The community outreach visits arranged by the park ensure that about 5,000 Chadian children and villagers visit the park each year.
We plan to improve the educational curriculum and expand on the four Elephant Schools that address the challenge of a dispersed local population. The reintroduction of black rhino and the creation of an elephant corridor beyond the park are priority conservation projects that are already under planning and investigation.