This report includes and update on the Okapi Conservation Project with information on the education team and agroforestry team, personnel and activities working to conserve the Ituri Forest and the Okapi Wildlife Reserve. Specific details on agroforestry projects related to stopping slash and burn agriculture and photos are included.
The Agro-forestry team continues to work with farmers around the OWR. Gathering seeds and planting and transferring seedlings take up a large portion of our efforts. As nitrogen fixing leguminous plants, Leucena and Calliandra seedlings form the important basis for farmer’s plots and are the first trees planted to restore the soil in preparation for planting vegetables and food items. Both can also be used for fuel wood as they grow larger. The team also distributed fruit tree seedlings for farmers, for a total of 7514 trees distributed and planted in the last quarter. African Mosaic Disease in cassava plants causes serious problems for subsistence farmers in the region who depend on the cassava as a staple. Our team is helping to distribute and study disease modified strains of cassava for farmers participating in the program and four community fields of disease resistant cassava were recently established
The Assistant Director of the Okapi Conservation Project is Marcel Enckoto, a Congolese national born in eastern DR Congo. Marcel has been working for the Okapi Conservation Project since July 1990 after receiving his degree in Human Sciences (Linguistics and Psychology). He is married with 4 children, who go to school in Butembo, DRC. Marcel feels the okapi is important as a scientifically unique species and has worked nearly his entire life to ensure its protection. He enjoys speaking with and education people, both nationally and internationally about conservation. It takes great courage to tackle the big challenges of traveling around the Okapi Wildlife Reserve to teach about conservation while dealing with major issues like poor roads, poverty, political instability and persistent illegal activities.
Thanks to your gifts and the Global Giving community we are able to work with subsistence farmers and improve their livelihoods and their ability to care for their families, while preserving the forests and wildlife in the Ituri Forest of the DR Congo.