Jun 22, 2018

Making Strong Advancements Protecting Okapi Habitat

Wamba Nursery
Wamba Nursery

OCP’s agroforestry team built a new tree nursery in Wamba, bringing the total number of OCP tree nurseries to five, which produced and distributed 17,153 tree seedlings to 400 farmers in the first quarter of 2018. This fifth nursery will help us reach our goal of 60,000 seedlings grown and distributed by the end of 2018.

Agronomes collected 1,463 kilograms of rice, 304 kilograms of peanuts and 527 kilograms of beans from first-year farmers to be stored until the next growing season when the seeds will be redistributed to new farmers joining the agroforestry programs.

OCP educators have been extremely busy distributing 3,000 calendars with conservation messages to schools, businesses and government offices around the Ituri landscape. In order to make it clear to local communities which species of animals are totally protected in DRC, five thousand posters depicting images of 16 totally protected endangered species with their scientific, French, Swahili and Lingala names were distributed to communities inside and around the Okapi Wildlife Reserve.

OCP support of ICCN is the cornerstone of protecting okapi habitat. The construction of a new office, an immigration processing building and sanitary facilities at the Zunguluka Patrol Post is nearly complete. Once in operation, this major access point to the Reserve will be much more efficient and thorough in processing people and vehicles travelling through the Reserve on the only East-West road in Eastern DRC.

We truly are making a difference for the animals and communities around the Okapi Wildlife Reserve. All of these advancements for okapi conservation are not possible without your continued support, and for that, we thank you!

Posters and calendars provided to Woman's Group
Posters and calendars provided to Woman's Group
Zunguluka Guard Post, mid construction
Zunguluka Guard Post, mid construction

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May 10, 2018

Impactful Advancements in Early 2018

Construction of Zunguluka Guard Post
Construction of Zunguluka Guard Post

OCP support of ICCN is the cornerstone of protecting okapi habitat. The construction of a new office, an immigration processing building and sanitary facilities at the Zunguluka Patrol Post is nearly complete. Once in operation, this major access point to the Reserve will be much more efficient and thorough in processing people and vehicles travelling through the Reserve on the only East-West road in Eastern DRC.

We welcomed a new warden, Paulin Tshikaya, on January 8, 2018, and we expect he will continue the excellent programs initiated under his predecessor, Radar Nishuli.

The rangers made a concerted effort to expand their patrol effectiveness during the dry season months of January and February. The first quarter results were enhanced by the presence of 400 Congolese soldiers in Epulu which mounted several operations targeting poaching gangs which impacted the number of poachers operating inside the Reserve. During the first quarter of 2018, ICCN rangers carried out 132 patrols covering 4,838kilometers.

While on patrol, rangers destroyed 761 snares, destroyed 27 poaching and mining camps, confiscated 2 guns, 226 rounds of ammunition and assorted mining tools. Rangers inspected 13 of the 16 known active mines inside the Reserve, evacuated 298 miners and arrested 43 repeat offenders. The rangers are very diligent about recording observations and signs of key wildlife species while on patrol. During January-March, they observed four okapi (one for every 1,210 kilometers walked), 17 forest buffaloes, 20 forest elephants, and many species of primates, duikers and birds.

All the difficult and dangerous work of the ICCN rangers and Congolese soldiers has provided a chance for the wildlife populations to move back into areas around mines and poaching camps once the people have been evacuated. We are hopeful that the presidential election will be held in December and DRC will, with the help of many concerned foreign nations, move quickly to establish law and order in every part of this vast country. We sense hope from our OCP staff members and friends in Kinshasa and in the meantime, we must hold the line safeguarding okapi habitat until a new regime takes on the responsibility of governing a country overflowing with natural resources that, if properly utilized, could lift its people out of poverty. Eliminating lawlessness will make the work of the rangers and OCP staff much less dangerous and much more productive and really provide a secure future for wild okapi.

Funding from donors like you help the ICCN monitor wildlife, remove snares, and enforce the laws in the OWR. Your support provides the rangers with valuable training, tools and equipment. Rangers work tirelessly to protect the Reserve and all of the wildlife contained within. The efforts of the ICCN rangers and OCP has allowed for the expanded usage of camera traps in the Reserve. Cameras have captured some amazing images of the native wildlife, including the first ever video of an okapi calf walking through the forest with its mother! We thank you so much for your continued support!

Construction of Immigration Control Office
Construction of Immigration Control Office
ICCN Ranger patrolling forest
ICCN Ranger patrolling forest

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Mar 6, 2018

Construction of a new nursery in Wamba

Nurseries provide tree seedlings for distribution
Nurseries provide tree seedlings for distribution

Despite the horrific and heartbeaking attack on the Okapi Conservation Project truck that resulted in seven lives lost, including one of our dedicated educators, Kalinda, we carry on the message of conservation in their honor. We are covering all healthcare costs and school fees for Kalinda's family to ensure they are able to move forward and that his children can continue their education.

We recently began construction on an agroforestry nursery in Wamba, just northwest of the Okapi Wildlife Reserve (OWR). This brings our total number of nurseries in and around the Reserve to five. Until now, the Wamba area was not served by our agroforestry program and as the funding and community interest became available for expansion, we capitalized on that motivation to better serve the community and reduce the slash-and-burn impacts on the critical rainforest that needs to be protected for okapi and other wildlife that share its habitat. Soon the nursery will be filled with seedlings to distribute in the area. This year, OCP has a goal of distributing a total of 60,000 from our five nurseries. 

After meeting with Wamba officials in November, John Lukas was pleasantly surprised to hear the community actually wanted the Core Conservation Area that was created in the OWR in 2015 to be expanded closer to Wamba. The Core Conservation Area does not allow any human activity or presence to occur without proper permits from the government. If the area is expanded to Wamba, those rules would remain the same. The realization by the Wamba community wanting to expand the protected area shows they understand their community and families benefit more from a protected forest filled with spectacular biodiversity. This understanding of conservation is due in most part by strong, dedicated OCP educators like Kalinda.

We are only able to maintain a strong, resilient conservation presence in the Okapi Wildlife Reserve with your help. We thank you for your continued support. 

Wamba nursery will be filled with seedlings soon
Wamba nursery will be filled with seedlings soon

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