Thursday, 31 October 2013

Here come the cavalry – Protecting Chad’s elephants

Members of Zakouma National Parks
anti-poaching horse patrol unit. 
Photograph by Michael Viljoen
Horse patrols provide the anti-poaching edge at Zakouma National Park in Chad

October 2013. Horses are an essential part of effective law enforcement and anti-poaching tactics at Zakouma National Park in the Republic of Chad. Since African Parks took over the management of the park in 2010, horse management has undergone significant improvements in terms of horse care, equipment training and guard horsemanship - and continues to do so. Stables, a riding arena, a lunging ring and two camps for the stallions when they are off-duty have also been set up.

Desert horse
The current (horse) stock improvement programme at Zakouma is focused on selling horses that prove to be unsuitable for anti-poaching patrols and purchasing larger, hardier horses. The West African Barb, a desert horse that originated from Morocco and Spain, is the primary breed found in Chad and is hardy and well-suited to the conditions. Zakouma currently has a stable of 40 horses which cost around US$50 000 a year to maintain.

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