Provide the best possible care to orphaned primates in DRC, while working to ensure their protection in the wild

Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is home to about 90% of eastern chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii). Since the mid-1990s, eastern DRC’s chimpanzees have experienced alarming population declines (up to 40%) due to illegal hunting and habitat loss, threats that have been exacerbated by years of war, insecurity, and humanitarian crises. Since its creation in 2002, CRPL has rescued 89 chimpanzees. Most of the chimpanzees have been confiscated in the hands of poachers in consequence of bush-meat hunting. In the last couple of years, CRPL has had an increase of chimpanzees’ rescues.
Together with chimpanzees, CRPL takes care of more than 100 monkeys from 11 different species, some of them are included in the UICN red list, as Cercopithecus hamlyni and Cercopithecus lhoesti.
In addition to give long-term care to the orphans of poaching, the CRPL plays and important role in chimpanzees’ conservation by (1) supporting law enforcement, (2) conservation education of national and international population, (3) provide alternative livelihoods for families around Kahuzi-Biega National Park and (4) Building capacity for congoles vets.
CRPL is an important agent in the eastern DRC’s Conservation Action Plan (CAP) and verified member of Pan African Sanctuary Alliance (PASA).
The aim of this project is to continue to provide to all animals in the care of the CRPL with a high standard of care assuring the capacity of the center to accept all the primates intercepted by congolaise authorities. Helping to enforcing congolaise conservation laws.

Protecting wild bonobos in the buffer zone of Salonga National Park by long-term monitoring

Salonga National Park (SNP) is one of the four key areas that were identified as priority sites for bonobo conservation. For this, bonobos living within SNP and its surroundings must be protected from hunting and other forms of human encroachment. Besides law enforcement, long-term field research has been identified as particularly successful in protecting apes on a population level. One project with a long-term commitment to research and conservation of bonobos, is the LuiKotale Bonobo Project (LKBP). The field site was established in February 2002 in collaboration with one village, Lompole, providing an area of approximately 100km² of local forest, abstaining from hunting and snaring. Ever since, teams of research staff and local assistants are present. In 2011, the second community, was started to be habituated. In 2016, the project was able to incorporate the neighbouring village, Bekombo, in the conservation management and start habituation of the 3rd community in the freshly acquired forest. To promote this relevant conservation work, Bonobo Alive e.V. was founded in 2011. With help of donations from Zoos, private people, and income generated from leading funding organisations financing science and conservation, the project succeeded in creating a well-protected area currently covering about 200km² of pristine lowland rainforest with an intact ecological web. Here, the changing teams of student volunteers and researchers acquire insight into a larger network of interacting bonobo communities. The project integrates an increasing number of local people into the accompanying conservation measures, becoming multipliers in the region. In combination, the LKBP and Bonobo Alive have been able to promote field research, biomonitoring programs and other conservation initiatives with the result that the local protection status of wild bonobos and other endangered species has considerably improved.

Support of gorilla conservation

We focus on the survival of gorilla populations that are particularly at risk. However, the gorillas’ survival can only be ensured in the long-term if we succeed in finding a balance between the needs of the human population and the required nature conservation measures. Key ways to achieve this are:
• To support the people who are employed by national authorities to protect the gorillas and their forests.
• To raise awareness and provide support to the people who live in gorilla areas – the gorillas would not survive without their cooperation and help.
• To give direct aid during sudden, unpredictable events such as wars, rebel attacks or volcanic eruptions, which often create emergencies.
Our work is financed by donations and members’ contributions. As the board works on a honorary basis, very little of our funds is spent for administration. We do not manage our own projects, but we support protected areas and other nature conservation organisations when something is urgently needed. We do not follow a rigid approach: we make decisions on an individual basis, in a fast and un-bureaucratic manner, appropriate to individual conditions and requirements. We collaborate with local contact persons in whom we trust, and our assistant in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is in constant contact with the local projects.