African Parks has taken on the management of the Chinko Project Area in the Central African Republic (CAR). The Chinko Project, through a public private partnership with the Central African Republic Ministry of Forestry, the Environment and Tourism, has a mandate to manage this important protected area for 50 years.
This brings the number of national parks and protected areas that African Parks manages, through public private partnerships with governments, wildlife authorities and communities, to eight. The total area of land under its protection to 5.9 million hectares. It also brings the organisation closer to its expansion goal to manage 20 strategically-selected national parks and protected areas by 2020 across a range of identified biomes.
Situated in the east of the Central African Republic, the Chinko Project comprises 17 600 km² of uninhabited Medio-Sudanian and Sudano Guinean savannah with some patches of Congolian rain forest and it is this mix of ecosystems that accounts for its unique and rich biodiversity. Recent research documented more than 10 primate species, both forest and savannah elephants, 23 even-toed ungulates, 4 ant-eating mammals, 21 carnivores including the African wild dog, lion and mongoose as well as 280 bird species can be found in the area.
Once a wildlife paradise teeming with animals including thousands of elephant, buffalo and lion, since 1986 Chinko has been decimated by rampant ivory and bush meat poachers, predominantly from Sudan.
“In order to develop this prominent protected area, key priorities will include biodiversity restoration including the creation of an enclosure to breed eland and the building of infrastructure,“ said African Parks CEO, Peter Fearnhead. “The training and development of an effective law enforcement unit is also of immediate urgency in order to reduce poaching pressure from Sudanese herdsmen, large groups of elephant poachers and other well-armed groups.”