In this photo of Saturday March 16 2019, Rangers walk in a field near the Bire Kpatous game reserve along the Congolese border. (AP Photo Sam Mednick)
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Charles Matthew secures his beret, slings a rifle over his shoulder and prepares a team for an overnight foot patrol in Bire Kpatous, one of South Sudan's game reserves that survived the country's civil war but are now increasingly threatened by poachers and encroaching human settlements.South Sudan is trying to rebuild its six national parks and 13 game reserves, which cover more than 13 percent of the country's terrain, following the five-year civil war that ended last year after killing nearly 400,000 people.South Sudan's government allocated nearly $6 million for the parks and reserves last year, a figure considered woefully inadequate by some local authorities. Western Equatoria state, where Bire Kpatous is located, has just one car for the 184 rangers overseeing three game reserves and one national park.South Sudan last month received a pledge of $7.6 million from the United States Agency for International Development and another $1.5 million from the Wildlife Conservation Society to protect the parks.Rangers are working to foster support for the parks among local residents, who sometimes go out on patrol with rangers.
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