Odzala-Kokoua National Park, Congo – Nowadays it takes cooperation and innovative thinking to combat poaching. African Parks (who manage the OKNP) has achieved success by doing just that.
For almost a year now, they have been conducting a plan they refer to as the “amnesty scheme”. Through word of mouth, poachers have been encouraged to turn themselves in. The catch? For giving up their weapons and their intel-they were offered an opportunity to apply for a ranger position in the park.
The result? 56 poachers turned themselves in; of them, 45 completed training for park employment.
Currently some are employed as eco-guards, protecting the park wildlife, and some have been given jobs as eco-monitors, recording information and conducting surveys.
More than just a gesture of goodwill, the program has paid off in the arrests of high level poachers and kingpins in the ivory trade.
Thanks to the success from the program, the park plans on launching a second amnesty scheme, along with a recruitment drive to attract more eco-guards.