Where the forest meets the sea: Conkouati-Douli National Park. CDNP is the most ecologically diverse park in the Republic of Congo, extending from the Atlantic coast to inland mountains and savannah. Habitats include beaches, mangroves, lagoons, and inland lakes surrounded by a mountain chain with dense tropical forest.
It is perhaps the only park in the world where you can find elephants, gorillas, chimpanzees, leopards and buffalo near humpback and orca whales, marine turtles, dolphins and manatees within hugely ecologically diverse habitats including; beaches, mangroves, lagoons, inland lakes and a mountain chain with dense tropical forest. Many of these species both flora and fauna are critically endangered.
7,000 people live in or around the national park in 30 separate villages and rely on the forests for their livelihoods through fishing, agriculture and hunting. This project works with the local community to ensure long-term protection of CDNP’s biodiversity by developing sustainable resource management and community engagement. Offering alternative sources of revenue and protein improving attitudes toward the Park and dissuading the population from participating in illegal degrading activities.
One way this is done by improving fishing techniques to decrease the dependency on bushmeat. The community income is also improved through micro-projects such as animal husbandry, agriculture, horticulture, agroforestry as well as an eco-tourism scheme while an education programme helps raise awareness amongst young people.
This Project, in collaboration with the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), will build on education and awareness programmes in schools and communities, leading community training promoting effective governance and management systems and distribution of village development funds.
• Easy access between CDNP and Pointe Noire leaves CDNP vulnerable to unsustainable natural resource exploitation
• With few viable income opportunities impoverished local populations are easily persuaded to undertake such exploitation
• Illegal poaching for ivory and bush-meat
• Illegal industrial fisheries
• Illegal mining/mineral extraction
• Illegal logging activities threaten to increase degradation of the forest, the largest contributor to emissions in the Republic of Congo
• Set up eco-tourism bungalows to generate income
• 40 eco-guards employed
• CDNP continues to be a refuge for elephants
• Wildlife crime unit set up
• Fisheries cooperative scheme set up for sustainable resource use
• Full time environmental education teams focusing on environmental education and how to make income generating activities more impactful
• WCS employ 30 beach monitors (including 2 all female teams) from local villages, providing local income and giving communities direct participation in CDNP conservation