Protecting One of the Most Significant Populations of Forest Elephants and Largest Population of Western Lowland Gorillas in the Congo Basin

Timeframe: 2018 // 2019 // 2020
Country/Region: Republic of Congo
Partner: African Parks

Odzala-kokoua National Park was established in 1935 and covers 13’650 km² in size in the north-west of the Republic of Congo. It is situated in the heart of the world’s second largest tropical rainforest, the Congo Basin. OKNP represents a vast and pristine expanse of protected frontier forest and has an incredible biological diversity that is characteristic of such a unique ecosystem. It hosts 4’400 plant species, 444 bird species and 106 mammal species, and 26 butterflies can be found here which occur nowhere else in the world. OKNP is a stronghold for some of the most threatened species in Africa, harbouring some of the world’s most significant populations of forest elephant and western lowland gorilla.

Unfortunately, the integrity of OKNP’s flora and fauna is threatened by a commercialized trade in bushmeat and poaching for forest elephant’s much desired dense ivory tusks. Bringing these threats under control is hampered by OKNP’s difficult operating environment as limited road infrastructure and thick rainforest provide cover for wildlife and poachers. The neighbouring communities are poorly educated and have traditionally been surviving on poaching as corruption and a stagnant economy encourage illegal activities and trafficking.

African Parks took over the management of Odzala-Kokoua in November 2010 under the terms of the partnership agreement with the Government of the Republic of Congo. Fondation Segré has previously supported this project in 2018/2019 and renewed its contribution in 2020 to further strengthen the activities of African Parks to preserve the integrity of the park. The project’s expected outcomes are:

  • OKNP’s capacity for Law Enforcement is enhanced, reducing illegal human activity in the park, maintaining the patrols operational, providing infrastructure and transportation
  • Human Wildlife Conflict (HWC) is better mapped and mitigation measures are expanded through an insurance scheme in action
  • Maintain standard operations and good relations with local partner and communities