To support and develop Nouabalé–Ndoki National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo
The tropical forests of Congo are part of the Cong Basin region which is the 2nd largest bloc of dense humid tropical forest after the Amazon. They provide a habitat for some rare and endangered large mammals such as forest elephant, western lowland gorilla, chimpanzee, bongo antelope, forest buffalo... They also constitute an essential source of food and shelter for the region's population, and their natural resources (crude oil, timber, minerals) are widely exploited. The expand of the human encroachment through urbanisation, logging, poaching and population growth increases the pressure on wildlife and threatens its longterm survival.
The Nouabalé - Ndoki National Park was created in 1993 by the Congolese
government to protect 4000 km² of intact forest which should remain free
from human encroachment and extractive activities such as logging and
mining. Since the early 90's, WCS has aimed to help conserve biodiversity in
Congo by working with the government, local communities and private
sector partners to adopt a landscape scale management approach,
establishing and maintaining a network of well-managed protected areas,
including the Nouabalé - Ndoki National Park.
The Nouabalé - Ndoki National Park provides complete protection to wildlife and their habitat through a collaborative project between the Congolese Ministry of Forest Economy and the WCS.
An ecotourism programme focusing on gorilla viewing was established in 2000 within the National Park, on two different sites.
The Mbeli-Bai natural clearing is frequented by western lowland gorillas who come to feed on the auatic vegetation. Currently, 13 gorilla groups and nine solitary silverbacks regularly use the bai, all of them are habituated to the presence of observers on the mirador platform and are known by the research team who maintains a permanent research presence.
The second habituation site is The Djeke Ecotourism Project. Visitors can track and observe through the forest the only fully habituated group of wild western gorillas.
The Nouabalé - Ndoki Project currently employs 49 full-time national staff, plus five technicians from the Ministry of Forestry Economy and the Environment (MFEE). Project management is supervised by a WCS-Congo project director and a MFEE park warden. Staff are divided into several different areas, including anti-poaching and surveillance, research, monitoring, tourism and education.
WAZA Conservation Project 08012 is supported by the WCS, Toronto Zoo, La Palmyre Zoo, La Vallée des Singes, USAID (CARPE program), USFWS, and FFEM.
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