The Congo Basin is home to some rare fauna and is one of the best bio-diverse with a wide range of species. There are some exclusive species in the region. Among the long list of species, the most endangered are the lowland Gorilla, an inhabitant of Gabon and the Republic of Congo. This is the place where you can find most of the lowland Gorilla. Congo is devoid of anthropogenic influences, yet there is a serious decline in the number of gorillas. The reason attributed is the rise in infrastructural developmental activities happening in the rainforests, disturbing the ecosystem.
The Endangered Species International (ESI) promotes conservational projects to save the planet from flora and fauna extinction. ESI has its site in the Congo basin and the study reveals around 58 gorillas live in 123 sq km. It was estimated that the density of weaned gorillas was at 0.81 individuals/sq km in the forest and no individuals in the degraded forests. In protected areas with well-preserved habitats, the gorillas were lower than expected. There is a hot spot for the gorillas. The human activities are threatening the very existence of the animals in the Congo region. It is putting tremendous pressure on the animals.
In the study site of 123 sq km, the ESI protects the lowland gorillas as part of the conservation activities. Other endangered species in studied in the project includes mandrills, forest elephants. African dwarf crocodiles among others. There is some plant life that is also threatened. The major cause of concern was illegal wild meat hunting and deforestation happening for the past 2 decades. Now these concerns have been contained to a certain extent. ESI works in close coordination with the forest hunters and has started a cooperative named the Hunter for Gorilla Conservation program. Moreover, with the help of ESI, an ecotourism on a small scale is being conducted along with awareness seminars.
It was the World Environment Day, and the university students of Goma were enlightened on the climate change and its effects on the ecosystem by Tuver Wundi. The Great Lakes is the home to some exotic and threatened species, and it is the abode of mountain gorillas. It is also home to diverse ecosystems. The extreme use of natural resources at the border of the Virunga National Park can have adverse consequences on the ecosystem. The loss of the habitat is attributed to the illegitimate fuel market. It is the greatest threat gorillas are facing. The species depends on plants for both food and shelter, and the destruction of the forest is threatening their livelihood.
The habitat loss can also be attributed to being the reason for the problem. The major cause for the climate change is illegal deforestation globally. It is only in the recent past that people have started to notice the problems faced in Africa due to the changes in the climate. The weather patterns change, and the harvest is disrupted. If this act of negligence is not stopped, it could be detrimental to the ecosystem. It is important to act now before everything goes out of control informs Tuver.
The university students were listening intensely to the speech, and their reception was cordial says Tuver. The interest shown by the students is a good sign that the future is in safe hands. The awareness of the climate change and its dangers in the eastern Congo region is on the rise, and it is no more the interest of a few environmentalists and gorilla conservationists who look for immediate action but also the student community. The students have to get engaged in environmental activities and should take an active part in educating the communities on protecting the forest, saving the gorilla and save the planet from destruction, ended Tuver.
Effective conservation is teamwork, and it can be achieved with only working in coordination with government authorities and NGOs. This fact is true to the Congo basin that is driven by insecurity and poverty along with the red-tapism of the bureaucracy. The special awareness event at Goma was organized by the Congolese Institute for the Conservation of Nature (ICCN) along with NGOs supported by the funds from Arcus Foundation. The workshop had a huge turnout and elaborated on the functioning of the governments and the civil society in protecting the great apes from extinction in the Congo region.
The lecture of Jean-Claude Kyungu Kasolene was information, and he runs the conservation project at Mount Tshiaberium. JC has completed the master’s degree in Gorilla behavior and can tell the genetic difference among the four types of gorillas, their behavior and habitat patterns and how it can affect the conservation process. There was sufficient information on how the local communities benefited from the protection of Gorillas and primates. It may be noted that the southern part of Nigeria and Cameroon benefitted immensely by the protection of the species. It has helped in developing the forest.
Once JC finished his speech, prominent official from the region pledged their support to protect both chimpanzees and gorillas. Anselme Kitakya, the Provincial Minister of the Environment from the North Kivu and the Vice President, inked the agreement for the protection of flora and fauna in the region that remains to be the last habitat for the gorillas and other primates. With this done, the team is all set to roll out the SafeZone Project where two million trees will be planted, and a safe habitat will be created for the Gorillas away from human interference. The saplings will take the time to grow into trees, but nevertheless, the beginning is made.