In Central Africa, all great apes are in dramatic decline. But on the spot, communities are mobilizing. The first forum for the civil protection of great apes from the forests of the Congo Basin, organized in Yaoundé, Cameroon, by the Alliance for the Conservation of Great Apes in Central Africa and the IUCN, aims to promote these field experiences. This meeting ends on Thursday.
In the western part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, within the territory of Bolobo, the Téké population created the first forest-preserving forest in Central Africa.
It all started in 2001, when poachers came to hunt bonobos. “Bonobo is considered human in our country,” explains Jean-Christophe Bokika, president of the NGO Mbou Mon Tour, who can be reached by phone with Agnes Rougier from the science department, the legend says that he lived with men. It is because he could not “honor his guilt” that he preferred to take refuge in the woods. Under these conditions, one could not even imagine that bonobo was the subject of poching. That was when we intervened to raise the awareness of traditional managers. This species is protected by national and international law. And since it benefits from the same protection in our practice, we can just as easily re-evaluate it, especially by planning research and ecotourism activities ”.
It is the locals who fully manage the conservation of 500 hectares of forest.
► Listen too : bonobos and men in DRC (RFI archive)
Sharing this type of experience is one of the goals of the forum, but not the only one. “This forum will be an advocate for engagement and, in particular, for the benefits of community involvement in these issues,” continues Guillaume Tati, President of the Alliance for the Conservation of Central Monkeys in Central Africa.
Because the success of the preservation of society is an important turning point for populations and for biodiversity.
► The forum website