The Greater Zakouma Ecosystem covers an expansive 30,693 km2, of which 7,692 km2 includes Zakouma National Park (3,049 km2) and Siniaka Mania Faunal Reserve (4,643 km2). Both of these protected areas fall under the direct management of African Parks. This ecosystem, which is situated just south of the Sahara Desert and above the fertile rainforest regions, comprises of critical conservation areas for key species in Central Africa. The total area impacted by the expanded management agreement also includes Bahr-Salamat (13,000 km2) and adjoining wildlife corridors (10,000 km2).

African Parks has managed Zakouma National Park since 2010, and as a result of our achievements there, the Government of Chad extended our mandate in October of 2017 to assume management of a much larger landscape, securing vital habitats beyond the national park for the benefit of local communities and wildlife.

Zakouma National Park has become a safe haven for Central and West African wildlife including Kordofan giraffe, of which 50% of this entire subspecies lives within Zakouma. Elephants had experienced a 95% loss from rampant poaching prior to African Parks’ involvement. Poaching drove a massive decline in the elephant population, from 4,000 individuals in 2002 to just 450 in 2010.

African Parks assumed management of Zakouma in 2010, and due to effective law enforcement measures and community networks, poaching has been practically eliminated with only a few individuals being lost in the past seven years. The elephant population is finally on the rise; with over 550 individuals counted in 2016, this is the first time elephants have been on the increase in over a decade.

With security having been restored and wildlife rebounding, Zakouma is now a coveted tourism destination to the benefit of adjacent communities whose livelihoods have improved considerably. Zakouma is one of the most inspirational and surprising conservation success stories to come out of Africa. Building on this success, African Parks assumed management of the Greater Zakouma Ecosystem in partnership with the Chadian Government in 2017, almost doubling our conservation footprint in the country.


  • Zakouma was declared a national park in 1963 by Presidential Decree, giving it the highest form of protection available under the laws of Chad.
  • Within two years of taking over management, African parks entirely halted elephant poaching within the extended elephant range.
  • Today the elephant population of Zakouma is on the increase, with new-born calves being observed from mid-2013 onwards and the population now exceeds 500 individuals. Other species in the park are also increasing in number, including giraffe, roan antelope and Lelwel’s hartebeest. The park’s buffalo population, reduced to about 220 animals in 1986, numbers over 10,000 today.
  • Satellite collars have been fitted to elephant herds, allowing the park management team to monitor them and deploy field patrols accordingly.
  • Communities work with the park to ensure the protection of wildlife. By extending the park’s communication network to villages, the flow of information has been improved so that communities can notify park authorities of any suspicious activity or threats.
  • Zakouma is one of the biggest employers in the regions of Salamat and Guera and provides additional opportunities for local income generation through the local procurement of park and tourist camp supplies.
  • The community outreach visits arranged by the park ensure that about 5,000 Chadian children and villagers visit the park each year.
  • A number of new schools, called Elephant Schools, have been built in areas within the elephant migration zone and in 2016, 1,267 children received educations from Zakouma-supported schools.
  • The park’s Tinga Camp, Camp Nomade and Camp Salamat have seen an influx of local and international tourists, providing local employment and trade opportunities.


Zakouma National Park is managed in partnership between African Parks and the Chadian government. The Chadian government and the European Union approached African Parks in 2010 to take on the management responsibility of Zakouma in order to put an end to the ongoing scourge of elephant poaching. The mandate agreement was signed in June 2010 and African Parks commenced management of the park and periphery in the October of the same year.