LUSAKA, Zambia, Dec. 24, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — African Parks was honoured to receive the Field Marshal of Chad, President of the Republic, Head of State, Idriss Deby Itno in Zakouma National Park on December 10th – 11th.  The Presidential delegation, which included Ministers, Advisors and the Governor of Salamat, visited the park as part of an official tour of Salamat province. 

Zakouma National Park forms part of the Greater Zakouma Ecosystem, a network of connected reserves brought under an extended management agreement first initiated between the Government of the Republic of Chad and conservation non-profit African Parks in 2010. This unique Sudano-Sahelian landscape has since become a safe haven for wildlife, a source of benefits for people and an internationally regarded nature destination.

“We must salute the efforts made by Chadians and African Parks with funding from the European Union. Today, Zakouma National Park is rehabilitated… I appeal here to all Chadians to come and discover Zakouma National Park. This is their park. It is a national asset. It has biodiversity that exists nowhere else,” said the Field Marshal of Chad, President of the Republic, Head of State, Idriss Deby Itno.

During their visit to the park, the delegation participated in discussions with senior African Parks representatives, assessing key developments and future steps to ensure the delivery of long-term benefits for people and wildlife.

“The Chadian Government under the Field Marshal of Chad, President of the Republic, Head of State Idriss Deby Itno, has enacted visionary measures through our partnership to ensure the protection of Zakouma’s globally important ecosystem,” said African Parks’ CEO Peter Fearnhead. “We look forward to building on this progress with the Chadian Government as well as with our financial partners, enhancing its contributions to local communities and to national development.” 

Located between the Sahara Desert and the rainforest regions of Central Africa, Zakouma contains some of the most important populations of West and Central African wildlife. It is refuge to Chad’s largest population of elephants and over half of the world’s remaining population of Kordofan giraffes.

Over the past 10 years, poaching has been essentially eliminated, enabling the elephant population to grow for the first time in decades and other species, including black rhino, to return. Not only are local communities also benefitting from improved security, but from the development of schools, employment and from Zakouma’s contribution through tourism to the local and national economy. In 2019, TIME named Zakouma as one of the World’s Greatest Places.

Zakouma’s economic and ecological transformation is enabled by the vital support of the European Union, Fondation Segré and several other private and institutional donors.

SOURCE African Parks

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