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BLOG

Inspiration, discovery and conservation in action from Congo’s wild places.

a fearless woman

Working as an eco-guard in the forests of central Africa is not a job for the faint hearted. The eco-guards working in Nouabale-Ndoki National Park spend 15 days out in the field at a time, covering many kilometers each day, often through thick forest undergrowth. Anyone who has walked in the forest can confirm it can be pretty unrelenting. They also have to constantly be on guard for both wildlife and poachers that put them...

their future is in our hands

Today is World Wildlife Day, an opportunity to celebrate the incredible diversity of wildlife on our planet, but sadly also a day to highlight the imminent threat to the survival of many of these species. We find ourselves at a crucial point in history for the conservation of wildlife, with several iconic species on the brink of extinction. Last year in a speech broadcast on Chinese state television Britain’s Prince William said "Let us not...

Ivory inventory

The annual inventory of all government-stockpiled ivory in the Republic of Congo took place this week in the country’s capital city, Brazzaville. A team of government staff responsible for ivory management from across Congo’s parks and regional offices, together with NGO partners, assembled to learn about the inventory process with technical and financial support from WCS and Stop Ivory. Together the group counted, weighed, measured and photographed the stockpiled ivory and entered this data into...

Pachyderm gauntlet

Our excitement rises as we sneak up the ladder onto the deck of the Mbeli bai mirador. Stepping up onto the platform we remove our shoes to avoid disturbing the wildlife. Early morning mist rises off of the main pool, draping the group of forest elephants enjoying its mineral deposits and lush vegetation in a shroud of mystery. There are two young calves in the group, one so small that it slips under its mother’s...

Dwarf crocodile rescue

A dwarf crocodile poses in a local dugout canoe in which it was chaperoned to safety by a team of Nouabale-Ndoki National Park eco-guards. The crocodile was confiscated at a roadblock near Makao in the north of the Republic of Congo. Several check points have been set up on the area’s road network to increase the enforcement of Congolese wildlife laws in the areas surrounding Nouabale-Ndoki National Park. The aim is to set up a...

Going green in Bambama

The Bambama vegetable growing association in southwestern Congo has been getting some beautiful yields of organic spinach. These crops were harvested from fallow fields that had been deserted due to lack of fertility. Now, with a few changes in farming practices, the community is getting bigger, and better quality yields, than ever before. The Bateke project is piloting a sustainable farming model at several sites across the landscape. The approach uses crop rotations that incorporate...

Sustainable agroforestry

Nested in the Batéké Plateau of Southern Congo, the Lefini Wildlife Reserve is surrounded by villages and agricultural land. The reserve is under pressure from unsustainable hunting and demand for fuel wood yet remains a key potential tourism site for the country. On the northern border of the reserve, people living in a small village called Mpoh, well aware of the importance of conservation for their future, decided to act to preserve their native land...

A window in the forest

After three days, two river crossings and several leeches, we reach our first destination. We set about making camp and the following morning we cover the final 4km to Mabale bai. Bais are natural forest clearings, unique to the lowland rainforests of central Africa. They act as social arenas, watering holes and mineral deposits for many large mammals. Forest elephants, for their size (3-5 tonnes), move through understory with silent ease and are difficult to...

Into the Nouabale-Ndoki forest

We set off. The 20 kilos strapped to my back feels cumbersome and my shoulders quickly begin to ache and numb. Yombe leads us, with quick little steps his feet splayed out at 45 degrees. Terribly fit. At first, I stuggle to find a rhythm; ducking and weaving, clambering over fallen trunks and pausing for the deft strikes of the lead machete. I give in to Yombe’s style and shorten my stride. Clouds gather overhead,...

Field diary: Outward bound

Pair of Hartlaub’s ducks take off and disappear behind a curtain of green. We are buzzing along. The little 15 horsepower outboard eases the dug-out canoe up the tannin stained waters of the Motaba, a snaking river that leads us to the edge of the Noubale-Ndoki National Park and, arguably, the most intact wilderness of central Africa. I look round to face six young men, perched on the sides of the pirogue, who for the...