Chad extends key conservation area in national park

Chad is to boost protection for a key haven for endangered wildlife in the south of the country under an agreement with a conservation group.

African Parks is to take over management and protection of a territory of high ecological value that lies around the vast Zakouma National Park in southern Chad.

The programme will help beef up security at the Siniaka Minia and Bahr-Salamat reserves around the park, as well as vital corridors used by fauna, African Parks said in a statement.

The deal was signed on Tuesday in Johannesburg.

African Parks has been managing Zakouma since 2010, after the park’s elephant population had slumped by 95% over the previous eight years.

Since then poaching has been “practically eliminated,” helping its elephant population rise for the first time in a decade and creating jobs for the local community, the NGO said.

Chad’s first national park, created in 1963, Zakouma has an area of nearly 3 000 square kilometres, lying just south of the Sahara and above the fertile regions of the rainforest.

On Sunday, Chad and South Africa signed a memorandum of understanding under which African Parks will move a “founder population” of six black rhinoceroses from South Africa to Zakouma next year.

The black rhinoceros was last seen in the wild in Chad in the late 1980s.

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