Garamba National Park in DRC no longer detects signs of poaching

Posted on 20 January 2022 By David Henning

The Garamba National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has not detected a single elephant carcass with signs of poaching since 2019, the longest period with no detection of poaching the park has seen in decades.

This is quite the achievement, as poaching was a serious problem in the reserve, which saw 33 elephants poached in five weeks in 2014, and 134 were poached from the period of April to December in the same year.

The DRC government along with African Parks launched an anti-poaching offence after this onslaught, where poaching incidents often involved groups shooting elephants by helicopter. The poaching was often attributed to four different groups; The Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) insurgents, armed groups from South Sudan, poachers who operated by helicopter and renegade members of the Congolese Armed Forces.

The park’s anti-poaching teams were regularly involved in exchanging fire with poachers, and many rangers have lost their lives over the years. Fortunately, thanks to the sacrifice of many of the rangers and increased conservation efforts, the park has gone 28 consecutive months without a single poaching incident.

This is a testament to the conservation efforts where a law enforcement strategy implemented in 2016 redefined the future of this iconic species in the park. By the end of 2019, poaching incidents had decreased by 90&.

African Parks commented that the reserve, which was once home to 22 000 elephants, saw its elephant population decrease to less than 1 000 over the years.

But, the situation has improved with 6% of the current population less than one-year-old, indicating that the population may be stabilsing. Hopefully, this is a sign that Garembe will once again be a stronghold for elephants in the 1 000s.

Picture: Getaway Gallery


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