WWF in the Dzanga - Sangha Protected Area (DSPA)

© wwfcar
Created in 1990, DSPA is in the far Southwestern region of CAR, at the northern edge of the Congo Basin forest. The area is well known for its impressive biodiversity and is the biggest intact forest block remaining in the country.

DSPA includes the Dzanga-Ndoki National Park and the Dzanga-Sangha Dense Forest Special Reserve. The Dzanga-Ndoki National Park, together with the neighbouring Lobeke and Nouabale-Ndoki national parks in Cameroon and Republic of Congo respectively, forms the core of the Sangha Tri-National (TNS) Protected Areas complex, designated a World Heritage Site in 2012. Together with its forested buffer zones, the TNS landscape consists of 25,000 km2 of tropical forest.

As a consequence of the region’s rich biodiversity, DSPA is a high priority for several WWF programmes, including the Green Heart of Africa Intiative and the African Great Apes and Elephant programmes.
© Angelique Todd
Elephant in Dzanga-Sangha protected area
© Angelique Todd


Key threats to the area include:

  1. Political instability
  2. Poaching (both subsistence and commercial)
  3. Artisanal mining
  4. Disease (risk of human diseases spreading to habituated gorillas)



What we do

The long-term goals for DSPA are to protect biodiversity and ecological processes and promote sustainable management of natural resources. 

Working alongside the CAR government, WWF supports DSPA management though providing technical and financial backing to:

  • Conservation activities including anti-poaching patrols
  • Tourism including the world famous Dzanga Bai and Primate Habituation Programme
  • Sustainable rural development including working with indigenous people and supporting local health, schooling, community dialogue, and capacity building 
  • Research including bio-monitoring and wildlife health.



© Angelique Todd
© Angelique Todd

Key Acheivements

WWF played a central role in the gazetting of the Dzanga-Ndoki National Park and Dzanga-Sangha Special Dense Forest Reserve in 1990. Ever since, we’ve worked alongside the CAR government to conserve this area, which is of exceptional regional and international importance. 

Today, the area remains a haven for wildlife, particularly forest elephants. As part of the TNS, it is considered an exceptional priority area for the conservation of chimpanzees and gorillas. 

On 1 July 2012, the 
TNS was the first three-country transboundary protected area inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This is the culmination of over a decade of work by many dedicated people – including protected area managers, central governments in the three countries, conservation NGOs, researchers, community leaders, private sector and financial partners – to make the TNS a truly functional transboundary managed forest landscape. 

World Heritage Site status will introduce the TNS to the rest of the world. We hope it will lead to increased support for the continued protection of the area’s globally important biodiversity and for the people that depend on it.

Working with partners

WWF has been working alongside partners in Dzanga Sangha, for over 20 years.

These include:

  1. CAR government (in particular the Ministry of Water and Forest, Hunting and Fishing, and the Ministry for the Development of Tourism and Arts)
  2. RALF (a sub-programme implementing wildlife law enforcement)
  3. IUCN
  4. PACEBCo (Programme d’Appui à la Conservation des Ecosystèmes du Bassin du Congo)
  5. The Robert Kock Institute
  6. WCS
  7. Numerous funding entities and donors including FTNS (Fondation pour le Tri-National de la Sangha), KfW, CAWHFI, USAID-CARPE, USFWS, the Arcus Foundation and Gaia Park.





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