• Threatened species conservation

The conservation of gorillas and chimpanzees in the Mayombe forest

ICON/BTN/arrow/2/arrow-down Created with Sketch. The conservation of gorillas and chimpanzees in the Mayombe forest

ESI Congo is an association, founded in 2009, in the Republic of Congo, working within the international ESI network, which also includes ESI France and ESI San Francisco.

 

ESI Congo has already benefited from three PPI financings (phases 3.1, 4.1 and 4.3), whose projects have provided good results. Previous projects have made it possible, in particular to improve knowledge about gorillas and their habitats in the Loaka forest, (Kakamoéka district, 150 km north-east of Pointe-Noire), by carrying out inventories, creating a cooperative hunters to regulate hunting practices and develop alternative income-generating activities or to reduce the sale of bushmeat in the markets of Pointe Noire.

 

Project actions will be concentrated in 6 villages that make up the historic area of ​​ESI Congo,(Boungolo, Sexo, Magne, Ndinga, Mfilou, Loaka). The communities still live mainly from collecting forest and hunting products, (to supply the Pointe-Noire market with bushmeat), and secondarily from agriculture. The challenge is therefore to support this population in a gradual transition to sedentary activities, such as agriculture, in order to protect the forest and its exceptional fauna, while maintaining their historic rights to the forests.

 

The NGO ESI Congo also benefited, in 2016, from organizational support, from Well Grounded financed by the PPI, which enabled it to redefine its strategy until 2020. ESI Congo is also part of the Alliance Grands network. monkeys (AGSAC).

 

This new project proposes to continue the actions already initiated and to intervene in the Mayombe forest, across the territory of Kakamoeka, whose district has 24 villages. This forest is home to an exceptional biodiversity with rare and endangered species such as western lowland gorillas (Gorilla gorilla gorilla, CR), chimpanzees, (Pan troglotydes, EN), elephants (Loxodonta africana cyclotis, VU), buffaloes, (Syncerus caffer nanus, LC), panthers, (Panthera pardus, NT), and bush pigs (Potamocherus porcus).

 

Inventories carried out in the area revealed a high density of gorillas estimated at 0.81 individuals / km². For the conservation of this forest in Congolese territory, 3 protected areas have been erected namely the Conkouati-Ndouli National Park (504,950 ha), the Dimonika Biosphere Reserve (136,000 ha), and the Tchimpounga Reserve (7 000 ha). These 3 classified areas are contiguous to a vast ecological corridor of which the district of Kakamoeka is an integral part with an area of ​​3,100 km2.

 

This new project aims to consolidate the conservation efforts undertaken by ESI Congo since 2010, to provide gorilla and chimpanzees with lasting protection against illegal hunting and the destruction of their natural habitat in the Kakamoeka territory. This involves, through 4 strategic axes, improving knowledge about these species and their living environments, raising awareness among the populations and thus contributing to reducing the consumption of bushmeat, increasing the socioeconomic impact of conservation and improve local governance of the Kakamoeka territory.

 

The direct beneficiaries of the project are the communities at the district level which represent between 7,500 and 8,000 people, including 1,000 to 1,200 in the 6 villages of the historic area. This project will bring together state services and local authorities (Kouilou prefecture, departmental council, environmental services, etc.), the private sector (forestry companies), NGOs operating in the area (WCS, Promotion Ecotourism Congo …) and especially the “Corridor” project (national project funded by the GEF).