Some of our African great ape conservation highlights – all achieved in collaboration with many partners – include:
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.
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.
Western Lowland Gorilla. Mpassa project manager Liz Pearson with orphaned gorillas reintroduced into the wild. Projet Protection des Gorilles, Gabon/Congo West-Central Africa: Nigeria to DRC.