Zakouma National Park
|Zakouma National Park|
|Parc National Zakouma|
|Area||3,000 km2 (1,200 sq mi)|
|Map of Chad, with Zakouma National Park in red.|
Zakouma National Park (French: Parc National Zakouma) is a national park, located between Sarh and Am Timan, in the south of Chad. Created in 1963, it was Chad's first national park, and has an area of almost 3,000 square kilometres (1,200 sq mi). It is entirely surrounded by the Bahr Salamat Faunal Reserve.
Zakouma was neglected during the period of civil conflict, but a restoration programme, supported by the European Union, began in 1989. The area in and near the Park has seen significant reduction in certain wildlife species in recent decades. For example, elephant herds were substantial in number as recently as 1970 with an estimated population of 300,000; however, by 2007 the number had dwindled to about 10,000. In 2005, the number of elephants inside the park was counted at 3,885. The population dropped to 450 individuals in 2014.
In 2006, conservationist J. Michael Fay and National Geographic photographer Michael 'Nick' Nichols traveled to Zakouma National Park to produce the documentary Ivory Wars: Last Stand in Zakouma. The African elephant nominally has governmental protection, but the implementation practices of the government (backed with certain EU help) are insufficient to stop the poaching. Armed guards protect the remaining elephants, which are threatened mainly by Sudanese poachers. Elephants move toward better forage outside the park's perimeter during the rainy season and become more vulnerable to poachers. The hunters kill them for their ivory tusks — which fetch high prices on the black market.
New tourist accommodation was opened in the Park, at Tinga, in 2003. The fauna of the Park includes 44 species of large mammals, and many species of birds. In 2005, a study estimated the lion population of the Park to be about 120. Zakouma National Park has been nominated by the Chadian Government to become a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- "Widespread elephant slaughter discovered in Chad: Conservationists find 100 recently killed animals near national park". EurekAlert. August 30, 2006. Retrieved September 15, 2012.
- Damon, Arwa; Swails, Brent (February 12, 2014). "Elephants, rangers face growing threats in Chad". CNN.
- "Michael Nichols : Biography". MichaelNickNichols.com. Retrieved September 15, 2012.
- "Ivory Wars: Last Stand in Zakouma".
- Goudarzi, Sara (August 30, 2006). "100 Slaughtered Elephants Found in Africa". LiveScience.com. Archived from the original on September 3, 2006.
- "Parc national de Zakouma" (in French). UNESCO World Heritage Centre. July 21, 2005. Retrieved September 15, 2012.
- Official website (French)
- EU Zakouma project (French)
- Pictures of Zakouma wildlife and its environment
- Ivory Wars: Last Stand in Zakouma, produced by Mediastorm
- Jagd auf das weiße Gold (Hunt for the white gold) (German)