Garamba National Park - DRC
Established by Belgian Royal Decree in 1938, Garamba National Park became of the first Game parks in Africa and was proclaimed a UNESCO heritage site in 1980.
History of Garamba National Park
Garamba was listed as a “World Heritage In Danger” in 1996 due to the threat to the remaining northern white rhino, although the species is now presumed to be extinct. In the late 1970s, Garamba’s wildlife came under immense pressure, predominantly from commercial Sudanese poachers. During this period, elephant numbers dropped from an estimated 22,000 to only 5,000 individuals. This decimation of the elephant population has continued as a result of civil war, undisciplined Congolese soldiers and foreign troops, deserters from the South Sudanese army and poachers. To add to Garamba’s difficulties, the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), a Ugandan terrorist group, progressively pushed into Southern Sudan and started using Garamba as a safe haven out of reach of the Ugandan army.
The expansive park, with its savannah plains and dense forest, is 4,900 km² and comprises part of the larger Garamba Complex of 12,500 km². This area is the last stronghold for elephant and giraffe in all of Congo. Garamba is on the frontlines of the poaching crisis and tremendous efforts were made in 2015 to increase patrol and surveillance area, resulting in enforcement area from 30 to 100 percent of the park.