We had a great chance to stay at Kasanka National Park for almost a week! Kasanka National Park is one of the smallest national parks in Zambia. It is protected by a private organization called the Kasanka Trust. This park is known for a large number of antelopes called puku as well as an extremely rare antelope called a sitatunga. Every November millions of straw-colored fruit bats fly to the park to mate and eat the abundant fruit. Kasanka is still recovering from heavy poaching in the 1970s and 1980s. Poaching is when people come into the park and hunt illegally. It is very difficult to control poaching, even in small parks, because no organization can watch all parts of the park at all times. Kasanka is home to many animals including baboons, elephant, buffalo, zebra, hippo, and others. In fact, one night we were sleeping in tents and a large group of elephant actually game right through our camp! As I was laying in my tent sleeping I could hear them snapping branches and I could even hear their stomachs rumbling! Another night from where we were camping we could hear hippo in the river. Also, one day as we were walking, the resident ecologist at Kasanka spotted a small snout at the surface of the water. When he went down to investigate he discovered it was a 10 foot long python. He was able to catch it (with some help) and we all got to hold it together! Kasanka uses fire as a management tool. They try to burn grasses in the park during the early dry season to avoid fires coming into the park from the outside during the late dry season. Late dry season fires tend to burn hotter and longer than the early dry season fires. Late dry season fires can destroy forests and completely change ecosystems. These fires are usually set by poachers or farmers. To protect this park and the animals inside it there must be cooperation between Kasanka and the surround villagers.