The Chinko Project sustainably manages a nature reserve in the heart of Africa – one of the last pristine mosaics of wooded savannah and tropical lowland rainforest deep within the Central African Republic. This project goes beyond conservation, it represents hope for stability and governance in one of the poorest regions on earth with an endless history of corruption, depletion of natural resources and military conflicts.

We are passionate about Africa – for both its wildlife and people – and believe there is a way for both to coexist. The Chinko Project, as a governance body, supports local communities, protects the ecosystem, and maintains economic value through tourism – providing the key to a sustainable future for this thriving ecosystem.


Humans have had a low impact on the Chinko/Mbari Drainage basin due to the fact that there are no permanent settlements or agricultural activities within the region. The Chinko nature reserve covers roughly 17,600 sq km of the basin’s southern part - representing a purely fascinating ecotone of rainforest and savannah.

Explore Habitat Map


The Central African people — mostly smallholder farmers living in the villages sedentary to the Chinko nature reserve, and transhumant herdsmen trespassing with their livestock to access the meat markets in Bangui — are among the poorest on the continent.

The Chinko Project offers an income, and stability to many of these families, and through the support of schooling programs gives the children a chance not possible until now.


The particular habitat of the Chinko allows for an incredible richness of species, and puzzling phenomena, making it a hotspot of biodiversity.

So far we've documented more than 75 mammals (including Wild Dog, Elephant, Lelwel Hartebeest, Eastern Giant Eland, Bongo, Lion and Leopard).

> 70,000 Photos > 75 mammals > 8 publications


The Chinko Project Area's ecosystem is today facing two major pressures:

  1. Armed Sudanese Herdsmen with cattle herds of more than 1,000 each come into the area for grazing - depleting the habitat in the long term and putting immediate stress on the wildlife.

    Some actively try to clean the area off predators that would put their livestock in danger, while others have discovered the economic benefit of poaching and drying bush meat to trade on Sudanese markets.

  2. Ivory poachers usually comprised of Sudanese professionals and rebel groups, threatening the small herd of surviving forest elephants in the region.

To reduce that pressure, we take action:

  1. Conduct Research to better understand the complexities and trade chains underlying bush meat and ivory trade from Chinko to Sudan.

  2. Provide Incentives for the herdsmen to pass through a designated livestock corridor as quickly as possible.

  3. Inform herdsmen about possibilities of protecting their livestock against predators.

  4. Build capacity by training and deploying Central African park rangers, and supporting local school programs to make people better understand the value of wildlife.

  5. Monitor & Patrol the area with advanced surveillance strategies.

  6. Detect & disarm poaching infringers inside the nature reserve and hand them over to the next state authority.



David simpson

David Simpson CEO, Founder

David worked in business management in the UK before joining the management of Central African Wildlife Adventures. He is co-founder and director of the Chinko Project.

Raffael hickisch

Raffael Hickisch Vice-President, Founder

Raffael came to the Chinko/Mbari drainage basin for research in 2012. He is responsible for fundraising, and project development, and supports operations as vice president.

Federico lambert

Federico Lambert Interim Site Manager Chinko

Federico has always had a passion for the wild; and economy: He is overseeing the local administration and logistics in Chinko.

Eric ngamana

Eric Ngamana Interim Site Manager Bangui

Eric has been working many years as a reviser, accountant and logistical manager in Bangui. At Chinko Project he is supervising bureaucratic processes in Bangui.

Tobias ruckstuhl

Tobias Ruckstuhl Interim CFO

Tobias spent his childhood in CAR, and the US. He holds the International Management Accountant (IMA CMA), and since 2013 he is responsible for the budget, audit and control of finances of the Chinko Project.

Emelie mararv

Emelie Mararv Interim Division Manager Constituency Building

Emelie spent half her life and childhood in CAR. She is highly knowledgeable of Central African culture and has ever since been involved into helping grassroots development initiatives.

Honorary Capacity

Constantin hofstetter

Constantin Hofstetter Information Technologies

Constantin supports the Chinko Project with technical implementation and planning of numerous advanced technologies. He takes care of the Chinko Project website and has put a significant share of his free time into advancing the research platform.

Loredana hartmann

Loredana Hartmann Law

Loredana works on her degree in law, and regularly participates in 'Model United Nations' conferences, to gather experiences with diplomacy. Since 2013 she advises Chinko Project in legal issues whenever needed

Milena klimek

Milena Klimek Fundraising, Scientific Writing

Milena does her PhD on Organic Farming, and Transdisciplinary Systems Research. She currently supports many parties with language review and proposal writing and particularly enjoys assisting the Chinko Project.

Ryan youngblood

Ryan Youngblood Film & Photography

Ryan is freelance videographer, and has worked on award-winning documentaries and has produced media packages for the BBC, the Associated Press, and CNN. Since 2014, he supports the project in film and photography.


Jean marc froment

Jean Marc Froment Board Member

Jean Marc has devoted his life to wildlife conservation in Africa with a special interest in big, remote and sparsely populated ecosystems. Jean Marc joined African Parks in 2005, where he today serves as Conservation Director.

Thierry aebischer

Thierry Aebischer Board Member, Founder

Thierry completed the Master of Science in Ecology and Evolution, and is currently working on his PhD at the University of Fribourg. Since 2012 he coordinated several expeditions to the Chinko, collecting data which is today the baseline for his PhD and the conservation work at the Chinko Project.

David zokoe

David Zokoe Board Member, Founder

David retired from the Central African government, where he rendered service in a number of minister and director posts. He is burning to bring change to the situation for the people of his very poor country, and since 2013 he dedicates his invaluable experience to the Chinko Project.

Erik mararv

Erik Mararv Board Member, Founder

Erik owns the safari company Central African Wildlife Adventures. Erik has an extensive knowledge of the region, and a profound network in Central Africa - without which the Chinko Project could not have been founded.

Advisory Board

Jean baptiste mamang

Jean Baptiste Mamang Advisor, Founder

Jean Baptiste has been involved in the conservation of the Central African Wildlife for more than two decades. He was Director of Wildlife for the Central African Government from 2007 until 2014, and has advised the Chinko Project from the start.

Philipp henschel

Philipp Henschel Advisor

Philipp is Lion Program Regional Coordinator at Panthera. He is now based in Gabon, where he has lived for more than ten years, and most recently conducted lion field surveys in the Sahelian savannahs of Nigeria and Côte d’Ivoire.

Louisa lombard

Louisa Lombard Advisor

Louisa is a Ciriacy-Wantrup postdoctoral fellow at the University of California. In July 2014 she will begin a position as assistant professor of sociocultural anthropology at Yale University. She first conducted research in CAR in 2003, and has since then worked in CAR as a field consultant, as well as an independent researcher.

Charlotte mararv

Charlotte Mararv Advisor

Charlotte has spent most her life in Central African Republic and travelled most of the country. She works in the tourism sector, and is today implicated in a number of different private companies and international NGO’s. She also is the Swedish Consul to the Central African Republic.

Racey bingham

Racey Bingham Advisor

Racey is a farmer and development consultant who splits her time between her farm (reberrockfarm.com) and consultancy in Africa. In her consulting work (mainly UN; World Bank) food security and pastoral livelihoods are among her specialisations.

John michael fay

John Michael Fay Advisor

Michael works for the Wildlife Conservation Society since 1990, and was an Explorer in Residence at the National Geographic Society. He has been very actively supporting conservation work in Central Africa, and is asides many other things, currently working to establish an ‘Agence Nationale pour les Parcs Nationaux’ in CAR.

Anton lundkvist

Anton Lundkvist Advisor

Anton lived and worked more than 15 years in Central African Republic. He studies GIS/Geomatics, and asides being on the Chinko Project board. he is working in a selection of land use management projects in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda.


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