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Entire family units were taken out, over, and over again – until fewer than 450 remained.
People often ask what the impacts are of well-run protected areas, and the story of Zakouma’s transformation illustrates this perfectly.
In African Park's second year at Zakouma, six of our rangers were tragically gunned down by armed poachers, execution style, while they were performing their morning prayers before going out on patrol. In a show of the indomitable human spirit, their rangers did not back down. They patrolled Zakouma constantly. They utilized technology, aerial surveillance, horseback, motorcycles and built trust among the surrounding communities, who began to contact them at the sign of any illegal activity.
In just eight years, African Parks entirely halted elephant poaching and transformed Zakouma from a killing field to a sanctuary.
At the end of 2018, the elephant population surpassed 550 individuals, this is the first time Zakouma’s elephants have increased in several decades. 127 calves under the age of five years old were counted, in sharp contrast with a single calf in 2011.
People are now living with hope instead of fear, in this new safe haven.
Tourism is also thriving generating almost USD1 million that goes back to the park and communities. More than 1,200 children went to this school year, in a place where education and opportunity were non-existent just a short while ago.
Zakouma is proof of the possibilities in conserving threatened species if the correct strategy is implemented. All of this has not only been made real because of African Park's partnership with the Government but also because of your unwavering support and donations.
To donate to African Parks and help them continue to make an impact across Africa like they have done in Zakouma National Park and elsewhere, please consider a new year's donation today. Because of their endowment and the generosity of their Boards, 100% of your donation goes directly to the parks, where it’s needed most.