On November 14, 2017, the U.S. Embassy donated three Toyota Landcruiser pick-up trucks, as well as spare parts, to the Ministry of Environment & Fisheries. The donation, a gift from the people of the United States, is earmarked to support the Ministry’s efforts to protect Chad’s elephant populations in Zakouma National Park and other unprotected areas.
Protecting Chad’s elephant populations is a key priority of the U.S. Embassy. Elephants are a part of Chad’s priceless natural heritage and should be protected for the benefit of future generations. Healthy elephant populations can also be a source of ecotourism dollars, increasing employment and prosperity in areas lucky enough to host them.
The U.S. donation, worth $175,000 (CFA 105 million) responds to the Government of Chad’s requests for assistance in fighting poaching, which not only furthers species conservation, but also maintains regional security by preventing illegal profits from ivory sales from supporting criminality and terrorism. The donation will help monitor Chad’s elephant populations to ensure their health and welfare.
The U.S. Government has supported elephant conservation programs in Chad since the 1990s. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service played a role in establishing Zakouma National Park, and continues to support the park annually by funding aerial population surveys. The U.S. Marine Corps Forces Africa conducted training exercises for the Ministry’s Directorate for the Fight Against Poaching and Environmental Degradation (Direction de Lutte Contre le Braconnage et la Dégradation de l’Environnement), popularly known as the Anti-Poaching Brigade. In addition, the U.S. Department of State has funded work in preventing human-elephant conflict in the Chari-Baguirmi region. These vehicles will be presented to rangers at Zakouma National Park to reinforce the positive impact their efforts have made upon the park, as Zakouma has recently seen an increase in the elephant population after decades of decline due to poaching.