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DR of Congo programme

- Basankusu - Green Caps

Geographical location

Basankusu, Équateur province and 10 forest villages to the south, ~200 km².

Target groups

Hunters, bushmeat sellers and consumers, rural populations,1 600 beneficiaries.

Species involved

Bonobo (Pan paniscus) and other endangered and hunted species.

Local partner

Gacebb

Objectives

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Evaluate the impact of hunting and consumption of bushmeat on bonobos.

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Stop the hunting and sale of bonobo meat.

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Develop alternatives to the trading and consumption of bushmeat.

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Reduce pressure on forest resources.

Programme timeline

September 2008

Programme creation

Hiring of our very first team in the field

February 2011

The local community takes the lead

Our local team founds Gacebb, which takes on the programme coordination

December 2015

Awely is back

Awely returns to the region, works alongside Gacebb

Context

In Équateur Province, DRC, bonobos are threatened mostly by hunting and the sale and consumption of bushmeat. This zone in Équateur Province is very isolated, poor, and lacks even basic infrastructures. Furthermore, the strong dependence of local populations on the natural forest resources severely damages bonobo habitats, endangering the survival of our closest cousins.

Painstaking work with hunters and bushmeat sellers

Since 2008, a key focus of our work has been on collaborating with villagers to establish and develop alternative activities that are not reliant on natural-resource use. For example, these activities can take the form of sustainable micro-development projects. We work closely with a number of former hunting and bushmeat sales associations which, with our support, have converted to alternative, environmentally-friendly practices. Finally, we also put in place awareness-raising campaigns to inform local villagers about the importance of bonobo conservation, thus building and strengthening local commitment to the process. In 2011, our local team founded their own association and since then we have been working alongside them to implement the programme’s initiatives. During this period we also worked with the Congolese organisation, Mbou-Mon-Tour in the Nkala region, home to one of the very few bonobo populations not threatened by hunting.

Our recent actions in the field

  • Research and evaluation of the impact of bushmeat hunting and consumption on bonobo populations;

  • Regular monitoring of meat markets and observation of bonobos by hunters;

  • Support for village associations that collaborate on initiatives for the protection of these great apes. Reduction of natural-resource use and consumption of bushmeat, especially that of bonobos;

  • Training and guidance for the creation of microprojects that don’t use forest resources: village bakeries, sale of fuels and medicines, goat and rabbit-breeding cooperatives, pisciculture;

  • Founding of a cattle- and fish-breeding association and development of sustainable agricultural practices that work in harmony with nature and help protect natural bonobo habitats;

  • Awareness-raising activities in communities, particularly through posters, educational booklets, and theatre (marionette shows).

More actions

Together we can stop the illegal hunt and develop the alternatives for the local communities.
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