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Protection of the Lomami National Park

Protection of the flora and fauna of the Lomami ecosystem and establishment of a functioning national park administration together with local partners.

The Lomami National Park (LNP) is the youngest national park in the Democratic Republic of Congo. It covers an area of almost 9,000 km2 and is the heart of the 40,000 km2 natural landscape between the rivers Tshuapa, Lomami and Lualaba.

 

A total of seven ethnic groups were involved in the founding process of the national park together with the Congolese park authority ICCN (Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature). The common land bordering the park serves as an important buffer for the protected area.

 

The region is almost completely covered by dense tropical rainforest, which is home to, amongst others, bonobos, forest elephants, giant pangolins and hippos. Numerous endemic or rare species have been found in LNP, including Lesula monkeys, Dryas monkey, Congo peacock and Okapi.

Hunting for bushmeat and ivory

The region around the national park is only very sparsely populated, yet it has repeatedly been the scene of violent conflicts. The stabilisation of the region is therefore one of the greatest challenges - also for nature conservation. Illegal hunting takes place in the protected area mainly to hunt bushmeat for local markets. But elephants are also poached for ivory.

The remoteness of the region has so far prevented the excessive exploitation of natural resources. Thus, now is the time to strengthen the protection of the LNP in collaboration with the surrounding communities and to raise awareness of the protected area and nationally protected species and prevent illegal exploitation of the region. The TL2 project is an important stakeholder in the protection of the park.

To date, the park's infrastructure has been minimally developed. Given the size of the protected area, there is a lack of funds, rangers, equipment for park staff and modern communication and surveillance technology to protect LNP effectively and in the long term.

Research and development of the Lomami National Park

Exploration and surveying/mapping of the region
Since 2007, Terese Hart and her team have been exploring and documenting the region in and around LNP. So far, more than 5,500 km have been covered on foot and in boats. The data is used to improve the park protection and also to gain a better understanding of how the various animal populations are distributed.

Monitoring of animal populations and illegal hunting activities
Regular patrols take place in the park, conducted jointly by TL2 staff and ICCN rangers. The patrols are conducted to improve the park protection and to collect data. Data is collected on species diversity and distribution, as well as on the occurrence of illegal activities (such as poaching).

Cooperation with local communities
Strengthening the communities in the area is a central component of our conservation work. Together with the local communities, we develop alternative, sustainable income opportunities and help to involve the communities in the development of the park. At the same time, we support individual communities in registering their Community Conservation Concessions.

The creation of a national park: Blog by Terese Hart

Since 2007 Terese Hart documents the work of her team. She describes the collaboration with the local communities that led to the formalization of the national park and the challenges of her daily work in the forest --> Searching for Bonobos in Congo.