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

  • Focal species: Bonobo
  • Secondary species: bongo, Congo peafowl, Forest elephant, various primates
  • Countries: Congo (Democratic Republic of the)
  • Name of organisation: Bonobo Alive e.V.
  • Support requested:
    contributions for specific items >1000 euro
  • Does this project benefit local people through employment and/or capacity building: yes
  • Does this project benefit local people in other ways: Apart from recruitment of villagers for field work, biomonitoring, and anti-poaching, Bonobo Alive (BA) has built a primary school, supported teachers, developed a school program for environmental education and executed education campaigns in a number of villages. BA facilitates training for the medical staff from a nearby hospital, provides resources enabling Congolese pupils to finish secondary school (Diplôme d\'Etat) and students to enroll in University programs (Licence, MSc, PhD).

Project Description

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.

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