|Country||Congo, the Democratic Republic of the|
|Date||23 Jan 2017|
In Itombwe massif, Mwana forest is suspected to keep the secret of an important population of the Critically Endangered Eastern Lowland Gorilla (Gorilla beringei ssp. graueri). Hover, Mwana forest is still a vulnerable unprotected area in the region. So, gorillas in this area are undergoing a dramatic decline due to human activities, including:
(i) sharp more increase in poaching for gorillas as pet and bushmeat;
(ii) massive loss and fragmentation of forest habitat due to agriculture and illegal timber exploitation;
(iii) small scale mining.
What touch me is that, at the moment, there are no published data concerning conservation status of gorilla population in Mwana forest. Impact of human activities in the area is unknown. This unfortunate situation reflects both knowledge gaps relating to the population abundance and geographical distribution of gorillas in Mwana forest and a lack of awareness to implement local conservation commitment.
In this context, our project plans following measures:
(i) 9 local team members are to be trained in gorilla conservation methods, enabling them to serve as gorilla guardians and conservation ambassadors in their communities;
(ii) a standardized local surveys on gorilla numbers, and distribution will be conducted in Mwana forest to produce management recommendations necessary to improve local protection of this Critically Endangered great ape.
Data collected through the surveys are to be compiled in a database, which is report containing information on where and how many are gorillas in Mwana forest. This database (report) will help protected area and wildlife managers better monitor Grauer’s gorilla population, evaluate and adaptively manage their conservation efforts at local level. Additionally, conferences will be held to the intention of 34 representatives of local government, community-based associations, hunters associations, farmer cooperatives, and timber exploiters groups to increase local involvement and active membership in gorilla conservation, thus reducing threats to gorilla and improving its conservation status in Mwana forest.
The project will be implemented in collaboration with the ‘’Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature’’ (ICCN), a governmental agency in charge of wildlife preservation in the Democratic Republic of Congo. It is also important to mention that WCS-DRC Programme and WWF-DRC, two international NGOs, will be involved as advisory coordinators during the project implementation. The project will be implemented during 12 month durations.
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