Elephant Conservation

Poaching, habitat loss, and human conflict have led to the devastating loss of elephants across Africa. In one place, Zakouma National Park, the population dropped from 4,300 elephants to 500 in just eight short years.

But we didn't give up hope. We overhauled the security, we involved the local community, and we fought back. In 2011, when we first took over management of the park, we counted only one calf under five. Just last year, we counted 127.

Zakouma is just one success story. We've also seen elephants on the rise in Majete in Malawi, Nkhotakota in Malawi, and Garamba in Democratic Republic of the Congo.

How We're Saving the Elephants

500 Elephants

Liwonde Elephant

In 2015, African Parks established the 500 elephant project. This project relocated elephants from overpopulated parks, Liwonde National Park, and the Majete Wildlife Reserve, to Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve. The move helped to establish a thriving elephant population in Nkhotakota from 100 elephants to 520. “500 Elephants” is a story of hope, possibility, and survival.


Investing in local communities

Elephants Kyle de Nobrega © Kyle de Nobrega

African Parks employs locals, invests in education, and attracts tourism in the communities around our parks. We hire community police forces to help patrol the patrol the parks, teaching them how to make the area safer. Further, we have built schools and helped more than 1,200 children attend this past year. By helping to bring jobs, schools, and venue into the areas surrounding the parks, we have created partnership with local communities.

Protecting our wildlife

Akagera National Park, Rwanda

To protect our wildlife, we have created Rapid Response Units (or Mamba teams). These groups are made up of highly trained and equipped rangers operating on foot, horse, and in vehicles. Some teams even have K9 units. The goals of the teams are to maintain the safeguard of the wildlife and stop poaching in the parks. To further our protective efforts, airstrip and radio were installed in key villages to ensure the free flow of information around the parks. Due to these safeguards, poaching is becoming less appealing and tourism is bringing in revenue for local villages.

Where to see Elephants

  • Translocated elephants make their way from the release boma into Nkhotakota © Will Whitford
    Nkhotakota Park
    As one of Malawi's last remaining, truly unexploited areas of wilderness, the Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve is home to the translocation of 500 elephants.
  • Elephants at Zakouma
    Zakouma National Park
    Zakouma has undergone a complete transformation in the past nine years. Poaching has been essentially eliminated, the elephant population is on the rise for the first time in decades, the park has become one of the most globally significant migratory bird habitats, and lions, leopards, and cheetahs are all on the rise
  • 500 Elephant on the Move in Malawi
    Majete Wildlife Reserve
    As an incredible conservation success story, the Majete Wildlife Reserve had no wildlife 10 years ago. However, now it is a thriving park as exhibited in becoming Malawi's Big Five park with a growing animal and bird population.
  • Elephants drinking at Zakouma National Park
    Akagera National Park
    In just 20 short years, Akagera has gone from battling for its survival to a flourishing national park. As Rwanda's only Big Five park, Akagera is home to elephants, lions, rhinos, and many more.
  • Liwonde Elephant
    Garamba National Park
    As one of Africa's oldest national parks and a World Heritage site, Garamba is home to one of the largest populations of elephants in the DRC. African Parks manages the site along with Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature (ICCN). With the help of various UN organizations we have helped to decrease poaching by 50% in 2017.
  • 500 Elephants
    Odzala-Kokoua National Park
    As a partnership with African Parks and the Congolese government, the Odzala- Kokoua National Park is home to a vast population of elephants. By hiring more law enforcement, poaching is decreasing in the park leading to more elephants moving into the area.
  • Elephants in Pendjari National Park
    Pendjari National Park
    Pendjari is situated in Benin and is home to the largest remaining intact ecosystem in West Africa. Forging a partnership with the National Geographic Society, the Wyss Foundation, and the Benin Government, African Parks has helped to create a safe haven for for West Africa's largest population of elephants.
  • Liwonde National Park
    Liwonde National Park
    Liwonde National park helped with the translocation of 336 elephants from Liwonde to Nkhotakota helping to reduce habitat degradation and human elephant conflict in Liwonde. African Parks is continuously monitoring and managing the growing elephant population.

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In 2016 we started the translocation of 500 elephants from Liwonde and Majete to Nikhotakota. Sign up to be the first to hear more #GoodNews happening around African Parks.