09 07/09/2012

Crisis at Okapi Project

We were devastated to hear that six people and 13 of 14 Okapi were brutally killed in the Okapi Faunal Reserve in north-eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

The Okapi Conservation Project here is one that we have given financial support to for a number of years.

Anyone who has seen the Okapi here at Chester Zoo knows just how beautiful and majestic these creatures are and we were so moved by what happened that we made an emergency donation to help the people concerned.

Following the devastating attack by poachers and illegal miners on Epulu, efforts are being focused on supporting families displaced by the turmoil in the Okapi Wildlife Reserve with food and medical supplies.

The emergency funding will continue to support anti-poaching patrols, education, agroforestry and other programs around the Reserve, while security is being reinstated in Epulu.

Currently, a joint military operation is underway and the outcome will help determine when the team will be able to initiate rebuilding in Epulu.

Thanks to the generosity of supporters of zoos from around the world, we are able to ensure the Okapi Conservation Project continues its critical support to the rangers that protect wild okapi and other wildlife in the Okapi Wildlife Reserve, one of the largest areas of biodiversity in the world, and an important World Heritage Site.

You can find regular updates on the project and staff if you go to www.okapiconservation.org and click on the News link.