Salonga National Park

Salonga National Park

BCBI in the Democratic Republic of Congo
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We work primarily in the Salonga National Park, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Covering almost 36,000 km2 – an area larger in size than the country of Belgium – the Salonga was designated a natural World Heritage Site in 1984 and listed in 1998 as a World Heritage Site in Danger (UNESCO, World Heritage List). The Salonga is a remote wilderness, primarily accessible by water or air. It is comprised of two land blocks of roughly equal size, separated by a 40 km corridor.

Conservation Value

The Salonga represents the largest expanse of legally protected bonobo habitat in DRC. As the centerpiece for bonobo conservation, the park protects approximately 15,000 individuals, or possibly 40% of the world’s bonobo population. It is the only protected area in DRC where bonobos and elephants still occur together in substantial numbers and where elephants still play a major role in forest regeneration and growth. Because of its size and intact ecosystem, the Salonga is one of the few places left in DRC that, if poaching could be stopped, has the ecological capacity for its forest elephant population to eventually recover.

In addition to the bonobo and forest elephant, the Salonga is home to many species, some endemic to DRC, and all of high conservation concern:

Salonga National Park
The Salonga National Park is one of five natural World Heritage Sites in DRC.

The Salonga National Park is managed by the ICCN (Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature), the government agency in DRC responsible for all parks and reserves. The ZSM, along with other non-governmental organizations, is working with the ICCN to strengthen its law enforcement and wildlife monitoring capacity in the national park. Together, we bring to the attention of the world the importance of the Salonga for biodiversity conservation, highlighting the roles of the bonobo and forest elephant.

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