CONGO RAINFOREST, DRC
The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) contains the largest area of intact rainforest in Africa. In fact, the Congo’s biome is the second-largest rainforest in the world, contains the second-largest forest carbon stock, and is home to a myriad of unique and endangered species, including forest elephants, chimpanzees, and gorillas.
The forests and wildlife are not adequately protected and are highly endangered, so WildFF sees this region as a critical focus for our organization. Our work here goes back to 2019 when we first partnered with Congo Biodiversity Institute (formerly Paradis des Primates) to establish Kalonge Nature Reserve today as we expand our focus to the local communities in Tshuapa Province.
Establishing the Kalonge Nature Reserve
Since early 2019, WildFF, in partnership with the Congo Biodiversity Institute (CBI), has been restoring the reserve’s deforested areas and has planted more than 13,000 native tree seedlings. The project has employed more than 670 members of the Masiki-Kalonge community, generating income for the local people and teaching the importance of a healthy ecosystem. In addition, WildFF has supported over 121 households through donations of seeds for vegetables and medicinal plants and has trained them in rabbit farming.
The project provides financial assistance to orphans from the local primary school, where students receive free schooling and conservation training.
Creation of wildlife refuge
The Kalonge Nature Reserve is creating a forest refuge to protect the biodiversity of a region that is home to Africa’s most threatened primates. While still early in its development, the project has already reintroduced various wildlife into the reserve that would have otherwise been captured by illegal hunters and poachers.
Organizational capacity building
CBI is committed to the protection and conservation of biodiversity. WildFF has worked closely with its leaders on defining its organization’s longer-term strategy, including identifying future projects, budgeting, planning, and financial reporting. Our aim is to ensure that CBI is financially and logistically independent from WildFF and is able to expand its impact throughout DRC.
TSHUAPA PROVINCE EXPANSION
WildFF’s initial project in Kalonge Nature Reserve has enabled us to find allies to further explore valuable forests in need of protection in partnership with CBI.
We have recently been awarded a conservation grant from Rainforest Trust to begin a socio-environmental and wildlife assessment in Tshuapa Province. In collaboration with local leaders, the goal is to determine the benefit of creating a nature reserve/community forest to protect the buffer zone of Lomami National Park.