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Marching forward for wildlife

In the build-up to World Wildlife Day 2017, the Nouabale-Ndoki National Park anti-poaching force gathered on the grassy lawn at the Park’s headquarters in Bomassa. The Congolese National Anthem was chanted as the modest troop of some 50 rangers saluted the flag’s ascent. The day marked an important step in the Park’s march to protect its forest elephants and the integrity of Ndoki’s World Heritage landscape.

Forest elephant numbers are plummeting in many protected areas across central Africa. In neighbouring Gabon, 80% of forest elephants have been lost over the last decade. Nouabale-Ndoki National Park has long been considered a stronghold for the species, but over the last year, the frequency of poaching incidents has increased, closing in on the Park’s borders.

Since the creation of the Nouabale-Ndoki Foundation and the appointment of WCS Congo as the Park’s management unit, some major advancements have been made towards protecting the Ndoki Landscape. Between 2013 and 2015, patrol coverage increased by 85%, now covering 72% of critical habitat in Park and its periphery. The added surveillance effort was mainly owed to a four-fold expansion of Ndoki’s ranger force.  However, the arms race with poachers has been fierce. In 2016 the first poached elephant carcasses were uncovered within the Park’s border.

Since mid 2016, the Parks’ Management Unit have been focusing efforts on improving intelligence-led patrolling and professionalising antipoaching operations. To start the year, 2017, new ranger contracts, better pay, and new patrolling equipment have been issued –  a reform which has been spearheaded by the formation of Units and a new system for planning the deployment of patrols.

Last Tuesday, this plan was set in stone and rolled out. The Park’s Ranger Units and Unit Leaders were officially recognised, and issued a new set of uniforms.  The day culminated with a parade through the village of Bomassa, where hundreds of inhabitants joined the march in celebration. Several young people actually joined rank – some of whom were surely inspired to be the Park’s next generation of protectors.

8 Comments
  • Thank you for all you do!

    July 14, 2017 at 9:40 pm
  • Dionne Polk
    Reply

    You are so important. You are protectors and life-savers.. We salute you!

    July 15, 2017 at 3:37 am
  • Margaret Moriarty
    Reply

    Thank you!!!!

    July 15, 2017 at 9:02 pm
  • Thank you!! The great work you do is very important to protect the forests and the animals.

    July 17, 2017 at 3:08 pm
  • Thank you so much! With the way the nations of the world focus so much on politics, you have risen above the way society operates today. You have become true heros and warriors, fighting for justice for the animals that cannot speak up for theirselves. I envy you your battle, for it is a righteous one. I will pray for you to keep safe, and that you never forget how important you are to people like me or the animals you protect.

    July 20, 2017 at 8:38 pm
  • Ernest Montoro
    Reply

    Thank you and keep up the good work.

    August 1, 2017 at 2:46 am
  • Barbara J.Lindsey
    Reply

    Thank u & God Bless ya’ll ,for ALL yall do 2 protect all the/these beautiful animals!

    Please punish those that wish/cause harm
    2 them,2 the full extent of the law!

    August 1, 2017 at 4:51 am
  • Joyce Dixon
    Reply

    Thank you; you do God’s work.

    August 2, 2017 at 1:57 am

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