Mar 7, 2021

Harvest at the Reserve

Women with cabbage harvest in Epulu.
Women with cabbage harvest in Epulu.

In the past few months, it's been an exciting time for farmers across the Reserve. Harvest is in full effect and vegetables are being plucked from the fields in large quantities. The community comes together, sharing the fruits (or vegetables, rather) of their labors to ensure every family eats comfortably till the next harvest.

In addition to the farmers that we support through our sustainable agroforestry program, the women’s groups of each village are a key fixture within agriculture.  Women work to provide for their families and communities through the nurseries and community gardens in each village. 

Nurseries are integral to the larger farming efforts of the Reserve, delivering nitrogen-fixing trees to sustainable farms. Nitrogen-fixing trees keep the soil fertile, allowing the same land to be used season after season without having to carve out new land within the Ituri Forest. 

Community gardens provide a supplementary harvest of vegetables that the women’s groups can distribute to their families and those who need them most. These gardens give women in the community an additional way to provide for their village increasing their influence within the community by giving them control of the management of the resource.

Harvests around the Reserve have been largely successful, though a dry season did reduce the yield of crops in Epulu. Dry seasons make it challenging for enough water to be collected. But through their tenacity, the women of Epulu were able to keep most of the crops alive, producing a viable harvest.

Your support of the sustainable farms and women’s groups of the Reserve helps provide the most necessary resource to the people of the Reserve - food.  All while protecting the rich diversity of flora and fauna of the Ituri Forest.

Women's Group member displays a harvest sample.
Women's Group member displays a harvest sample.

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Mar 5, 2021

Helping Give Wildlife a Second Chance

ICCN Eco-Guards stand at attention.
ICCN Eco-Guards stand at attention.

ICCN Eco-Guards continue to patrol the Reserve preventing and removing illegal mining, poaching, and wildlife trade threats. Whenever one of these incursions is shut down, there is no telling what victims of the wildlife trade will be left behind. Okapi Conservation Project remains ready to receive wildlife that has been impacted by these events.

The unfortunate reality, while it is so easy for these illegal operations to disrupt the environment and cause harm to wildlife, it is a much more complex operation to undo the damage. Fortunately, we have formed a strong alliance between ICCN, ourselves, and rehabilitation facilities to provide an effective line of care for the victims that would otherwise be stranded. 

While we have been lucky enough to have had no confiscations in the recent months, we know from the experience of other reserves the threat is still present. When animals are brought to us from Eco-Guards they are often in need of medical attention and can be malnourished or dehydrated. It is important for us to have the necessary supplies on hand to treat wounds or illness and a team available to provide care before they can be transported to a more permanent care facility. 

Chimpanzees and monkeys rescued from ICCN patrols receive temporary care at our Epulu station while they wait for transport to the Lwiro Primates sanctuary where they will receive the bulk of their care. Lwiro is a sanctuary dedicated to the rehabilitation of these orphaned primates where they can receive the long term care they need to remain healthy.

Your support means that we can be ready at any moment to provide care for the chimpanzees and other wildlife that are rescued during ICCN patrols. Between getting medical supplies to such a rural area, providing caretakers, and transporting the rescued wildlife as needed, it can be an expensive endeavor to care for these forlorn animals. Be a part of giving wildlife a second chance by supporting today!

A chimpanzee investigates a camera trap.
A chimpanzee investigates a camera trap.

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Nov 6, 2020

Major Success for Sustainable Agroforestry

Okapi Grazing on Brush
Okapi Grazing on Brush

We recently received a major indicator of the progress our sustainable agroforestry initiative is making! What’s a better sign of success than… an okapi! A farmer near Epulu has had a male okapi visiting his farm on a regular basis for the last several months. Due to the farmer’s sustainable agroforestry practices, the male okapi visits frequently to browse on the plants that have been able to thrive near the farm. 

Not only is the sighting of an okapi a good indication of the success of the sustainable agroforestry initiative, it is a good sign for the health of the okapi population in the area. Seeing an okapi so close to inhabited land could be a sign the territory of okapi is expanding. On top of that, it's a really rewarding sight for everyone in Epulu who has put so much hard work into the Project!

Over the last several months our Agroforestry team has been putting in serious effort to continue their hard work despite the threat of COVID-19. OCP has made it a priority to keep employees and residents safe, wearing masks and social distancing ahead of any government mandate. Still, we continue to distribute seedlings, saplings, and supplies. Recently, the agroforestry team also hosted demonstration fields to introduce new farmers to the sustainable agroforestry program and encourage them to participate.

Just like the Reserve relies on community members to make the protection of okapi possible, we rely on contributors like you to help support them. Thank you for your help protecting the okapis’ rainforest home! 

Child with Field Harvest
Child with Field Harvest
Growing Crops
Growing Crops

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