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Elephants, gorillas and chimpanzees, wildlife all-stars

Name any famous large mammal and chances are that it is found inside or close to the Congo River Basin forests. Elephants, gorillas, chimpanzees and okapi, all are residents of this vast area, where more than 400 species of mammals are found.1

Gabon and Congo-Brazzaville are estimated to have at least 190 and 200 mammal species respectively, while the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is reported to have at least 450.2 Dzanga-Sangha National Park in the Central African Republic alone is home to at least 105 mammal species.

But where the Congo River Basin really breaks records is for primates. The highest diversity of primate species is found in the Atlantic coastal forests (from Cameroon to Gabon) and in eastern DRC.

The elephant factor

The Congo River Basin is well known for its large population of forest elephants. In places such as the Dzanga-Ndoki in the Central African Republic, Nouabale Ndoki National Park in Congo-Brazzaville and Langoue in Gabon, these elephant populations remain relatively undisturbed.


Sun-tailed Monkey Cercopithecus solatus Endangered rainforest species Endemic to Gabon © WWF / Martin HARVEY

Found nowhere else

The bonobo or pygmy chimpanzee (Pan paniscus) the sun-tailed monkey (Cercopithecus solatus), black colobus (Colobus satanas) and the okapi (Okapia johnstoni) are only found in the Congo River Basin.

A closer look at the…

1 USAID. Congo River Basin Forest Partnership. Accessed 08/11/05.
2 WRI. EarthTrends Country Profiles. Accessed 19/11/05.