Siniaka Minia is an extraordinary landscape that helps secure vital migration corridors and range habitats for diverse species.
Set against the impressive backdrop of a massif mountain formation, Siniaka Minia Wildlife Reserve (SMWR) in Chad stretches over 4,643 km2 of extraordinary landscape. The Siniaka River and Tourda River snake through this important savannah ecosystem that harbours species such as greater kudu, red-fronted gazelle, giraffe, roan, lion and reintroduced African buffalo.
Siniaka was originally designated as a reserve in 1965 to conserve black rhinoceros, but lack of protection and rampant poaching drove the species to local extinction in the late 1970s, while other key wildlife species were threatened over the years. However, following the success of the African Parks partnership in Zakouma National Park, in 2017 the government of Chad invited African Parks to manage Siniaka Minia Wildlife Reserve, as well as Bahr Salamat Faunal Reserve (BSFR) and adjoining wildlife corridors, thus incorporating the entire 28,162km2 Greater Zakouma Ecosystem (GZE) into this new mandate.
Our immediate efforts are focused on securing this vital habitat for the benefit of local communities and wildlife. Key priorities include reducing poaching activity and human-wildlife conflict through the improvement of conservation law enforcement and anti-poaching systems, wildlife monitoring, infrastructure development, recruitment and training of staff from the surrounding communities, and an overall contribution to socio-economic growth.
The expansion of African Parks’ footprint in Chad under the Greater Zakouma Ecosystem is a demonstration of what is possible with government action, donor support, and effective management. This advancement to include Siniaka is a significant step in securing migration corridors and vital range habitats for countless species and effective sustainable protection ofnatural resources for both people and wildlife alike. African Parks has been working with the Chadian government on the process of upscaling Siniaka’s protective status, from Reserve to National Park. This process is expected to be finalised in the first half year of 2024.
The first restoration operation of the SMWR took place in 2022, with the capture and translocation of over 900 buffalo from Zakouma - the largest-ever African buffalo translocation. Despite some losses, the translocated herds have seeded a founder population that is the first significant population seen in Siniaka Minia in over half a century.
Over 200 km of road connecting Zakouma and Siniaka Minia is being improved and maintained, directly assisting the buffalo translocation and many other logistical moves between the two anchor protected areas, and enabling expansion out of the core areas into the broader landscape.
In 2022, two Teachers’ Associations were created in Zakouma and Siniaka Minia. Thirty-two teachers and 26 schools were supported with the provision of education (both general and environmental) as well as school supplies. Three new schools were also constructed.
Community engagement teams have been established to encourage nomadic herder groups to use the transhumance corridors around SMWR to move and graze their cattle thus reducing conflict.
Read more about Zakouma
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