JOHANNESBURG, October 10, 2017 /PRNewswire/ --
The Government of the Republic of Chad and African Parks announced on Tuesday October 10th the signing of an agreement for the management and protection of key reserves Siniaka Minia, Bahr-Salamat and wildlife corridors around Zakouma National Park, to create the Greater Zakouma Functional Ecosystem. African Parks, a conservation NGO which manages protected areas on behalf of governments across Africa, has managed Zakouma National Park since 2010. The results achieved in Zakouma enabled the extension of the mandate to manage a much larger landscape, securing vital habitats beyond the national park.
Zakouma National Park is home to the country's largest population of elephants, which was reduced by 95% due to rampant poaching between 2002 and 2010. In the seven years since the Government of Chad delegated management to African Parks, law enforcement measures and community programmes have practically eliminated poaching and the elephant population is on the increase for the first time in a decade.
"The Government of Chad has shown extraordinary vision in committing to the conservation of its irreplaceable parks," said African Parks CEO Peter Fearnhead. "Through our partnership in Zakouma, our actions have produced stability and security for both local communities and wildlife, paving the way to incorporate the Siniaka Minia and Bahr-Salamat Wildlife Reserves, and important corridors between them within our management mandate. We are immensely grateful for this partnership, and for the support of the European Union and other funding partners who have made this possible."
The key priorities will be to reduce poaching and human-wildlife conflict through the improvement of law enforcement; to promote national capacity; and to contribute to socio-economic growth. On Sunday October 8th, the Governments of Chad and South Africa signed a Memorandum of Understanding to enable African Parks to translocate a founder population of black rhinoceros from South Africa to Zakouma for reintroduction to Chad next year. This commitment to fortifying security and eliminating poaching to facilitate the safe return of key species is a critical component of the restoration of Zakouma, and the larger ecosystem.
"The satisfactory results that we have achieved in this public-private partnership stem from the foresight of His Excellency Mr. Idriss Deby Itno, President of the Republic, Head of State," said Chad's Minister of Environment and Fisheries Ahmat Mbodou, "The conservation and sustainable management of resources is in perfect coherence with Chad's 2030 vision and the objectives of sustainable development."
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SOURCE African Parks