Nestled in the far eastern part of the Central African Republic (CAR), and shrouded by decades of civil war, rampant poaching and armed herders, Chinko is emerging as one of the most hopeful conservation stories on the continent. In 2014, the Government of the CAR invited African Parks to manage Chinko with the shared vision of transforming the park, to enable stability to return, wildlife to recover and to improve people’s livelihoods. In just a few years, this is becoming a reality. Poaching and cattle in the core park area have been entirely eliminated, so that the once-elusive and nearly extinct elephant population is returning; carnivores, including lions, hyaenas and wild dogs, are on the rise; and for the first time, a rich diversity of fish species is being documented. Nearly 300 local people are employed by the park, making it the largest job provider in the region. Chinko is also the only provider of essential services such as health and education, as well as skills training and community enterprise support.

In April 2020, the government and African Parks signed a revised public-private partnership agreement for 25 years, increasing the core protected area to 24,335 km2 and taking the total area to 55,000 km2 under protected management. Going forward, African Parks’ vision is to see the protection of CAR’s biodiversity expanding, bringing the total area under conservation and sustainable resource management to over 103,000 km2. In one of the most volatile and unlikely places in the world, will be one of the largest managed wildernesses in Africa.

Chinko Highlights

  • African Parks was awarded the first mandate to manage Chinko in 2014, the agreement was revised in 2020 for a period of 25 years and increased the core protected area to 24,335 km2 and the total area to 55,000 km2 under protected management.
  • Chinko is the largest employer outside of the capital of Bangui with more than 300 nationals employed and is by far the largest taxpayer in Eastern CAR.
  • African Parks established Chinko’s first Law Enforcement Department with a unit of rangers who have undergone specialised law enforcement training. In 2022, an estimated 40 new rangers will join the department after completing three months of intensive training.
  • Chinko's core-protected area, which is free of livestock and poaching, has increased from 6,000 km2 to 24,300 km2 where many wildlife species are now frequently seen.
  • Chinko has recruited, trained and deployed 60 Transhumance Sensitisation Officers, known as Tango teams, to monitor and educate transhumance herders coming into CAR from Sudan to prevent the risk of poaching. These Sensitisation Officers engage with herders and prevent them from driving cattle through Chinko by guiding them towards designated corridors to avoid sensitive wildlife habitats.
  • Chinko has deployed 24 External Outreach Officers who are based in communities around the protected area to inform community members of Chinko's conservation activities. They also conduct additional sensitisation with local herders on Chinko's boundaries as well as proposed transhumance corridors and sustainable grazing.
  • The latest wildlife population survey carried out in 2021 shows a steady recovery of most key wildlife populations. It is estimated that Chinko hosts a population of 1,300 Eastern chimpanzees, between 55 and 80 elephants, more than 4,000 West African buffalo, and over 1,200 Lord Derby’s eland. Over 90 African wild dogs and 110 Northern lions were also recorded. 

Partners

Chinko is in a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) with the CAR Ministry of Water and Forests, Hunting and Fishing (MEFCP). This partnership assures that Chinko protects the ecosystem, supports local communities and maintains economic value by providing the key to a sustainable future for this unique ecosystem.

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