First of all, we would like to offer our heartfelt thanks to you for making our 2016 Year-End Campaign a resounding success. With the help of our generous supporters, our project finished in the top 5% of over 500 participating projects…raising over $10,000! Because of our placement, we have earned the opportunity to be featured on the GlobalGiving.org home page in 2017, exposing our work to even more potential donors. Stay tuned to find out when we’ll be featured!
Meanwhile at Lilungu, we are continuing the process of securing the protection of over 1.3 million acres of rainforest habitat. As our dedicated team of trackers monitors bonobos in five forest blocks, our Congolese logistics staff and local partners are gearing up to take the next steps in establishing this prime area of bonobo habitat as a community forest. To date, we have secured accords with local communities and are now focusing on pursuing approvals at the provincial level. We are seeking further support to conduct expanded biological surveys, zoning and demarcation activities that are required to establish a protected area. At the same time, we are working with our local partners to advance community livelihood and education programs to benefit the people and sustain the entire ecosystem.
The urgency of protecting forests like those of Lilungu was underscored in a recent article in the journal Science Advances by Alejandro Estrada (Institute of Biology at the National Autonomous University of Mexico) and co-authors. A survey of scientific data of non-human primates and the threats facing them showed that approximately 60% of primate species are headed for extinction. The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is considered a high priority area for primate conservation, as it is one of four countries that together harbor two thirds of the world’s primate species. These species—including bonobos—continue to be under immediate threat from habitat destruction, hunting, human encroachment, and climate change. The authors conclude that the most effective path to preserving primate biodiversity is through the development of conservation programs that are based on mutually beneficial partnerships between local communities and government—exactly the kind of cooperative conservation that BCI and partners have championed for the last two decades.
Continued support for our tracking teams—from donors like you—has been instrumental in not only protecting bonobos, but in maintaining the enthusiasm for the communities of Lilungu to work with us to protect their forests—and all of the species within. As always, thank you for standing with us…and please help BCI and our partners by spreading the word about our work.
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