Community-based monitoring of endangered species in eastern DRC
Among one of the most biodiverse regions on the planet, the forest of eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is home to various endangered and endemic species such as the Congo peafowl (Afropavo congensis), the okapi (Okapia johnstoni) and the Grauer’s gorilla (Gorilla beringei graueri).
The community-managed reserves of Regolu and Regomuki are located in the buffer zone of the 10,000 km2 Maiko National Park, which is the only place in the world to support sympatric populations of eastern DRC’s endemic flagship rainforest species: okapi, congo peafowl, grauer’s gorillas and eastern chimpanzees.
Taking action to preserve these forests is crucial to secure the future of both plant and animal species, which would otherwise suffer dramatic decline, some risking extinction. Fauna & Flora International have been working in the region since 2008 supporting the Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature with community conservation activities in the Maiko National Park buffer zone.
Chester Zoo is now working with Fauna & Flora International to maintain and further develop the Regolu and Regomuki endangered species monitoring programmes.
This project’s main priorities include:
- Maintaining monthly community based monitoring and protection of endangered DRC endemics in the Regolu and Regomuki reserves.
- Improving protection capacity and coverage through training and supervision of 30 community rangers.
- Improving knowledge on the local distribution of okapi, peafowl, gorilla, chimpanzee, other large mammals and threats.
- Providing alternative livelihood opportunities for up to 30 community members as wildlife rangers.
- Supporting the Institute Congolaise pour la Conservation de la nature (ICCN) to protect the Maiko National Park through participatory monitoring of buffer zone areas.