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Location: 50 km West of  Bukavu    Map

Area: 4,920 km²

Kahuzi-Biéga National Park

Kahuzi-Biéga National Park

 

 

 

 

 

 

Description of Kahuzi-Biéga National Park

 

Kahuzi-Biéga National Park is located 50 km West of Bukavu in Democratic Republic of Congo. Kahuzi-Biéga National Park covers an area of 4,920 km². It is designed as reserve for Eastern Lowland Gorilla. Civil wars that ranged in 1990s greatly reduced number of these rare apes. Today only about 600 of these animals roam the territory of the park.

 

The national park is one of the last refuge for a rare species of primates - the eastern lowland gorilla. At altitudes of 2100-2400 meters, a population of only about 250 gorillas lives here. But this figure is already declining due to the hostile influence of human presence. Military conflicts in the country led to the destruction of the national park’s security system, which gave freedom to poachers. In recent years, gorillas for sale have been increasingly appearing in local markets. These and other circumstances led to the fact that in 1997 this conservation area was included in the list of World Heritage Sites under threat of destruction.

 

 

 

 

 

In total, over 194 mammal species live in the area. These include the Eastern Chimpanzee ( P. Schweinfurthii ), numerous other species of monkeys, some scattered groups of forest elephants , hippos, leopards, giant forest pigs , bongos and seven different duiker species. The number of elephants in 1982 was still 3300 individuals, favored by the poaching aggravating inaccessibility. The park also houses at least 224 species of birds.

In 1997, the World Heritage Committee put the park on the Red List of Endangered World Heritage. The lower regions of the park are located by a Rwanda used Rebel group as a base of operations. She is blamed for poaching, logging and illegal mining ( Coltan ). The classification of the Kahuzi-Biéga National Park as a UNESCO World Heritage in Africa is therefore not secure (2013).

Criticized by human rights activists and also by Greenpeace became a missed exclusive nature conservation policy at the time of the park foundation, which contributed to the reduced protection of the natural wealth in the area by the expulsion of 6000 pygmies , the traditional hunters and collectors in the mountains. There are only about 3,000 pygmies alive in 2009, many of whom died of malnutrition without compensation; the conflicts with the Bantu farmers had prevented a livelihood as farmers, only 12 trackers had been set for tourism in the park. The gorillas were defended by only a few park guards before the rebels and civil war refugees. Meanwhile, with support from GTZHowever, about 450 of the pygmies reached with projects for handicrafts and school fees.

 

 

 

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