Geoparks Africa
World Heritage Sites

Rescuing Chad’s Zakouma National Park From Hell


Zakouma National Park in Chad is known for its large and continuously growing herds of elephants.

But Zakouma has another astounding fact lurking behind its bushes, thriving prides of Lions at the time when the King of the Jungle Population is diminishing around the globe.

African lions are under threat across their entire range, with fewer than 20,000 remaining in the wild.

However, Zakouma National Park remains a stronghold for this iconic cat, despite the reserve’s horrid past.

In 2021, for instance, a lion survey was conducted along the 25,000 kilometers of road network crisscrossing the Park, produced photographed evidences of nearly 185 lions sighted within the jungle precinct.

From the picture snapshots experts were able to identify at least 105 individual kings of the jungle.

In 2010, the Government of Tchad or Chad, was compelled to invited African Parks to help manage Zakouma.

The aim was to transform the park from the previously heavily poached landscape into a wildlife paradise which it seems to be today.

And sure enough, within a period of twelve years the park started to regain its pristine wildlife sanctuary position.

Apparently, Chad had lost over 90 percent of its elephants in just eight years.

Illegal hunters, heavily armed and riding on horseback unleashed mass massacre of Jumbos in the park, decimating its natural resources while stirring fear and insecurity in local communities.

By the time things came under control at least 4,000 elephants—95 percent of Zakouma’s population—were killed for their ivory. This massive slaughter occurred within eight-year period.

But the country managed to achieve an astounding feat in transforming Zakouma Park into one of Africa’s most astonishing conservation stories.

The implementation of effective law enforcement and community development strategies led to a near total end to poaching and enabled the wildlife populations to start recovering.

Situated just south of the Sahara Desert and above the fertile rainforest regions, the Greater Zakouma Ecosystem is well positioned as the primary safe haven for Central and West African wildlife.