Central African Republic



Although things are getting better for the wildlife in the Central African Republic, they seem to be getting worse for the people.

The government's efforts to improve the country's parks and protect its dwindling wildlife have shown results: The animal population, which had declined steadily for years, has begun to stabilize, and additional wildlife has begun moving into the protected areas. (Poaching continues to be a major problem for wildlife outside protected parks.) It will take many years before the republic's animals are thriving, but it's good to see things, at least in one area, moving in the right direction.

For the people of the C.A.R., however, the direction of everyday affairs is steadily downhill. A series of attempted coups and army mutinies has kept the capital, Bangui, on edge and the rest of the country simply struggles against overwhelming poverty. (More than half the population lives below the poverty line.) Until the C.A.R. manages to turn the tide toward peace and prosperity, travelers will have to take considerable—and unacceptable—risks in order to view the C.A.R.'s wildlife parks.

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