Located in south eastern Chad, you’ll find Zakouma National Park, a true wildlife treasure. Uncover 350 000 hectares of raw, wild Africa. Here, lions roam open plains in search of vast buffalo herds, and red-billed queleas flock in their thousands. Roan , tiang , amazing birding, local villages and cultures complete this very special picture. A park once ravaged by civil conflict and poaching, Zakouma is one of African Parks real turnaround success stories. Evidence of their conservation efforts being rewarded include :
· A buffalo population that has grown from 200 in 1986, to over 10,000 in 2016.
· A thriving elephant population which was brought back from the brink of extinction
· Zakouma is home to 50% of Africa’s Kordofan Giraffe population
THE STORY BEHIND ZAKOUMA NATIONAL PARK
Zakouma National Park in Chad is one of Africa’s most remarkable stories of transformation. Between 2002 to 2010, 95% of the parks’ elephants were poached – almost 4,000 were slaughtered for their ivory, and poachers would often take out multiple family units at the same time. Not only were they destroying the parks wildlife, they were wreaking havoc on local people too. In 2010, African Parks, on invitation by the Chadian Government, signed a long-term agreement to manage Zakouma and stop the bloodshed.
Thanks to their efforts and effective community work, only 24 known elephants have been lost to poaching since 2010. Along with providing law enforcement, African Parks built ‘Elephant Schools’ for local communities, helping more than 1,500 children get an education. With law enforced and security reclaimed, tourists began to visit, delivering needed revenue back to the park and local communities.
With peace restored to the region, something miraculous happened. Elephants were able to be elephants once again, and for the first time in years, they began to breed and raise their young. In early 2018, 103 calves under the age of three were counted. In 2011, one was counted. The elephant population has now surpassed 559 individuals and is on the rise for the first time in a decade. The story of Zakouma is of a park rising from the ashes and becoming an unlikely tale of redemption, for people and animals alike.
AFRICAN PARKS TAKES OVER
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. The elephant population now exceeds 550 individuals.
Other species in the park are also increasing in number, including the kordofan giraffe (of which 50% of their global population is found in Zakouma), roan antelope and Lelwel’s hartebeest. The park’s buffalo population, reduced to about 220 animals in 1986, numbers over 10,000 today.
As an important source of water, in a harsh environment, Zakouma attracts amazing wildlife. The dry season is particularly good for game viewing because this attracts wildlife that migrates out of the park during the wet season. Some of the wildlife you can encounter:
Predators – Lion, leopard, cheetah, spotted hyena and wild dog. Other smaller species include, civet, serval, caracal, jackal,…
Herbivores – Elephant, Kordofan giraffe, Central African Savannah buffalo, Western greater kudu, tiang, roan antelope,…
Threatened Species – Elephants, black crowned crane, black breasted barbet
Bird Species – Zakouma is a valuable stop-over and breeding ground for birds. A total of 388 bird species reside in the park