African Great Ape Programme: achievements
- The first truly national conference in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) since the civil war was organized to discuss great ape conservation and a draft action plan is being finalized.
- Increased anti-poaching efforts in a number of national parks – including Kahuzi-Biega National Park, DRC; Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda; and Minkebe National Park, Gabon – have led to the arrest of dozens of poachers as well as the seizure of firearms and hundreds of snares. In Kahuzi-Biega National Park, for example, the recruitment of new personnel and the re-opening of ranger posts after the civil war means that ICCN staff now control some 70% of the park area (compared to 10% at the start of 2003).
- In Salonga National Park, DRC, capacity was developed to census and monitor large mammals and the first systematic, park-wide survey of bonobos was conducted. This indicated a lower than expected occurrence of bonobos and high levels of human disturbance. A new project was then started in 2005 to increase the monitoring and protection of bonobos.
- In Gamba Protected Areas Complex in Gabon, a gorilla group has been habituated and ape-watching tourism opportunities are under development.
- In Cameroon, WWF initiatives led to the establishment of two new great ape sanctuaries: one providing a haven for Africa's rarest ape, the Cross River gorilla, in Kagwene Mountains, and another conserving western lowland gorillas and central chimpanzees in Mengame.
- For the first time, in 2003 both wildlife and human health experts were brought together to develop a strategy for containing ebola. WWF then supported field teams in Minkebe, Gabon, to start implementing elements of the strategy by increasing anti-poaching operations and raising awareness in 13 local villages of the dangers of eating bushmeat.