Here is a beautiful update shared by African Parks, who have been managing Chinko Nature Reserve in CAR since 2014.
Chinko Nature Reserve
Deep in the Central African Republic (CAR) lies an unknown wildlife refuge. Few have heard of Chinko, a unique area that spans a vast 17,600 km2 where savannah and tropical forest collide. These mixed habitats have resulted in an extraordinary diversity of wildlife. Even more miraculous is that despite decades of elephant and bushmeat poaching, cattle and herdsman who move through the area, and political insecurity over the years, remnant populations of most key species here have persisted, making this one of the largest ecosystems with the greatest conservation potential in all of central Africa.
Chinko: A Magical Wild Kingdom
The results of a recent camera trapping survey confirmed that Chinko is indeed a magical wildlife kingdom. The park is home to as many as ten primate species, including a significant population of chimpanzees; five felid species including the highly vulnerable Central African lion, leopard, serval, the rare golden cat, and 19 other carnivore species like the African wild dog and nine mongoose species (the most documented for any one protected area in the world); 23 species of even-toed ungulates including the iconic Lord Derby’s eland and Bongo; and both forest and savannah elephants, making this one of the last holdouts for elephants in the country. A minimum of 400 bird species have also been identified, and it is believed that as many as 600 could exist.
To witness this marvel for yourself, take a peek at this incredible gallery of camera trap photos. These animals have held out under extraordinary odds, and now live in one of the only managed protected environments in the remote area of east CAR.
African Parks has managed Chinko since 2014 through a public-private partnership with the Central African Republic Ministry of Forestry, Environment, and Tourism, and has the mandate to manage this area for 50 years.
Text and images credit: African Parks
Image of Lord Derby Eland. © Adam Parkison