The park is known for its diverse wildlife, including elephants, giraffes, lions, leopards, cheetahs, hyenas, and many species of antelope. In the past, Zakouma National Park faced significant challenges such as poaching, habitat destruction, and conflict with local communities. However, in recent years, the park has undergone a remarkable transformation, thanks to the efforts of African Parks, a non-profit organization that manages several national parks in Africa.
African Parks took over management of Zakouma National Park in 2010, and since then, they have implemented a range of conservation measures, including anti-poaching patrols, community outreach programs, and infrastructure development. As a result, the park's elephant population has increased from just a few hundred in 2010 to over 6,000 today, making Zakouma one of the most successful conservation stories in Africa.
Zakouma National Park is now a popular destination for ecotourists, offering a unique opportunity to experience the beauty and wildlife of one of Africa's most remarkable conservation success stories.
Zakouma National Park was opened in the 1950’s to provide a refuge for the wildlife populations who were, and still are, at risk from poaching. There are around 66 mammal species in the park, including 50 percent of the world's population of Kordofan giraffe and the Central African Savannah buffalo. Predators, herbivores and primates inhabit the park with a variety being seen on game drives; if you are lucky you may catch sight of the resident lion pride or even an elusive leopard or two…
A diverse range of bird species reside within the park, with a total of 388 recorded, including some 40 raptor species. The wetlands form part of the RAMSAR site “Inundation Plains of Bahr Auok and Salamat”, which is one of the largest in the world, and acts as a breeding area for the birds.
The threatened species found at Zakouma are diverse, from the black-crowned crane to the African elephant. In 2002, there were over 4,350 elephants in Zakouma, but this plummeted to just 545 by 2011. Since then, populations have begun to increase once more as a result of the work of the resident rangers. The black-crowned crane population is also rich within Zakouma National Park as their habitat outside of the parklands has been destroyed in many areas.