Given African Parks’ competency and expertise in protected area management, we are well-positioned to secure 20 parks in our portfolio by the end of 2020. Some key and relevant achievements include:
- African Parks manages 19 parks covering over 14.2 million hectares, representing nine of the continent’s 13 ecological biomes. This is the largest and most ecologically diverse area in Africa under conservation management for any one NGO.
- We have established the largest counter-poaching force for a conservation organisation in Africa, with over 1,100 rangers and growing. Our rangers are often the only stabilising force in some of the most remote and underserved areas in Africa. In 2019 alone, they confiscated 64,267 illegal wildlife products including ivory and bushmeat, removed 19,464 snares and made 658 arrests from across the parks with 400 total prosecutions.
- Majete Wildlife Reserve in Malawi has been transformed from a landscape once devoid of wildlife, income and staff into a ‘Big Five’ park, permanently employing over 140 local people and generating over $540,000 in tourism revenue in 2019. Majete was one of the sources of the historical 500 elephant translocation, whereby 520 elephants and 2,000 game animals were translocated from Majete and Liwonde to Nkhotakota. To date Majete has not lost one rhino or elephant to poaching, and in 2019 the reserve received a founder population of five cheetahs from South Africa.
- In Chinko in the Central African Republic, we have managed to keep the 20,000 km2 park free of cattle and a core area of over 6,000 km2 free of poaching as well. For the first time in years buffalo, hartebeest, hippo and waterbuck populations are bouncing back. In 2017, 380 people fled into Chinko for protection; they were voluntarily relocated back to their homes in 2018 once the violence subsided, and 44 individuals have been hired as transhumance sensitisation officers to help reinforce the boundary of the park. In 2019, these teams patrolled 17,500 km with an additional 15,000 km covered by 11 eco-monitoring teams.
- Successful law enforcement efforts in Zakouma National Park, Chad, have enabled the elephant population to increase for the first time in over a decade with 560 individuals confirmed in 2018. Since 2013, 24 schools have been built and supported and thousands of children have received an education. Nearly 28,000 tourists have visited the park since 2010, of whom more than 50% were Chadian nationals. In 2019 alone, more than $1.1M was generated through tourism revenue. Today, Zakouma is one of the largest employers in the region.
- Akagera National Park in Rwanda has become ecologically, socially and economically sustainable since we assumed management of the park in 2010. In 2015, lions were reintroduced to the park after being poached out in the 1990s, and the population has more than quadrupled since. In 2017, 18 Eastern black rhinoceroses were successfully reintroduced, granting the park its ‘Big Five’ status. And in 2019, another five black rhinos were translocated from European zoos to the park to supplement the founder population. As a result of flourishing wildlife populations, tourism in Akagera has increased by 230% since 2010 with nearly 50,000 tourists visiting the park in 2019, half of whom were Rwandan nationals, generating a record of $2,5M in revenue making the park 90% self-financing.
- In Garamba National Park, often referred to as ground zero in elephant poaching, our law enforcement strategy, revamped in 2016, has resulted in a 90% reduction in elephant poaching and key wildlife populations are on the rise. With this increased security we have begun to implement a responsible Sustainable Development initiative that will impact more than 100,000 people living around Garamba, delivering reliable electricity, and developing educational, medical and clean water facilities.