In 1963, Chad’s first national park, Zakouma National Park was established. It’s located between Sarh and Am Timan in the South of Chad with an estimated area of 3,000 km2 (1,200 sq mi) It was renowned for its huge free roaming herds of elephants.
During the civil war, Zakouma National park was neglected but a restoration programme supported by the European Union began in 1989. In cooperation with the Chad government great strides towards its restoration have been achieved.
Dangers on the Park:
Some decades ago, the area in and around the park had seen significant reduction of certain species. It was as a result of poaching. In 1970, the elephant population was estimated to be around 300,000 however by 2005 the number had reduced to about 10,000. In 2007 the number had further reduced to 3885 after the elephants inside the park were counted. The population dropped to 450 individuals by 2014.
Protection of the park’s inhabitants was greatly hampered by the country’s political instability. Poaching was mainly carried out by the Sudanese poachers.
By 1980, an estimated 25 black rhinos were still alive in Chad but by 1990, they were considered extinct in the country. The Western Black Rhino was officially declared extinct in 2006 when the last animal died in Cameroon.
There are about 44 species of large mammals recorded. They include buffalos, lions, antelopes, lelwels, hartebeest, kordofan giraffe, cheetahs, leopards among other species. Recent survey has revealed the elephants population is on an upward trend.
Over 373 species of birds have been recorded at the Zakouma National Park.
The best time to visit Zakouma National park is March and April when the animals converge around watering holes. From the month of June to October it’s usually wet because of the rains
Getting to park can be laborious, with the best option being organising the visits through the travel agencies.